| July 29
July 29 McDonald's Corp, not just its
franchisees, can be held liable in complaints that the company
violated employee rights, an official at the U.S. National Labor
Relations Board said in a letter made public on Tuesday.
NLRB general counsel Richard Griffin Jr. wrote in the letter
that of the 181 complaints filed against the fast-food chain
since November 2012 in connection with employee protests, 43 had
merit. McDonald's will be named as a joint respondent in those
cases if they are not settled, Griffin wrote.
Christine Owens, the executive director of the National
Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers,
said the McDonald's must be held accountable for its
The NLRB decision means corporations "cannot feign ignorance
or disclaim responsibility for franchisees' illegal acts,
especially when those acts flow from the business model the lead
company imposes," she said
In a statement, McDonald's senior vice president of human
resources, Heather Smedstad, said the NLRB decision was wrong
and the company would contest it. McDonald's relationship with
its franchisees does not establish a joint employer
relationship, Smedstad said.
The NLRB decision "changes the rules for thousands of small
businesses, and goes against decades of established law
regarding the franchise model in the United States," Smedstad
McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant operator by
revenue, has been at the center a national debate on pay
inequality at a time when many middle- to low-income Americans
are struggling to make ends meet.
According to the NLRB letter, 68 complaints against
McDonald's had no merit, and 64 are still under investigation.
(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Steve