Don't Panic Yet over NLRB News, Attorney Advises
Of all the advisories put out by lawyers since the NLRB’s bombshell “joint employer” ruling last week—a very long list with very dire predictions—our favorite was from PlaveKoch.
The subject line read: “Worry but don’t hyperventilate (yet),” and offered “practical tips for action items to consider.” Here are four of the 10 tips put out by Lee Plave, name partner of the Reston, Virginia-based firm, which stood out to us because they go beyond the obvious and are relatively simple to implement.
1. Franchisors should examine the degree to which their required unit-level technology (such as POS systems) imports, uses, analyzes or otherwise interacts with franchisees’ human resources data.
2. When conducting site visits and inspections, the franchisor’s personnel should walk through the business only with the franchisee or one of the franchisee’s managers, and let the franchisee or manager speak to the franchisee’s employees.
3. Franchisors should be certain their franchisees use conspicuous signage to make clear that each franchisee is independently owned and operated. Franchisors should be especially careful that their franchisees not use the franchisor’s name or marks in their corporate name or in employment-related documents such as applications or payroll checks.
4. Franchisors that have a centralized website on which potential unit-level employees can make an application ought to reconsider that approach.
PlaveKoch also noted the National Labor Relations Board did not reach a final conclusion when it alleged July 29 that McDonald’s and some of its franchisees are “joint employers,” and therefore could both be held liable for workplace violations.
“While those reports are premature,” PlaveKoch says, referring to word that it’s a done deal, “the issue raised is serious and deserves careful attention by franchisors, licensors, manufacturers and others.”