Federal Judge Determines McDonald's Not Joint Employer With Franchisees

March 17, 2017

For the second time this year, a federal judge determined that McDonald's does not control the wages and working conditions of its franchisees' workers and therefore is not responsible as a joint employer for their violations of labor laws.  The California state judge ruled in summary judgment that California’s wage laws only apply to employers who control the wages and workplace conditions of their workers, and that to "ignore [the California legislature's] decision to limit the definition of 'employer' to those who, through an agent, control workplace conditions would be to rewrite the law."  The judge found that the law does not provide for third party liability through "ostensible" control over workers' wages via an agent.  The plaintiffs plan to appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit.