Franchisor Not a Joint Employer
Employees at McDonald’s franchise restaurants filed a class action alleging the franchisee denied them overtime premiums, meal and rest breaks and other benefits, in violation of California Labor Code, and that the franchisor, McDonald’s Corporation, was liable as a joint employer. After the employees reached a settlement with the franchisee, the trial court entered summary judgment in the franchisor's favor and the employees appealed. Affirming summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit held that any “direct control” asserted by McDonald’s Corp. over its franchisee was directed at “quality control” and “brand standards”—not day-to-day aspects of the operation or employees' wages, hours or working conditions. Therefore, the joint employer theory could not be employed to reach the corporate franchisor.