The National Labor Relations Board has named McDonald’s USA and McDonald’s franchisees as joint employers for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The holding is a win for unions in that it will make McDonald’s liable for labor violations by franchise owners. Complaints were filed against McDonald’s in more than 100 cases. The complaints allege that workers were fired or intimidated for participating in union organizing activities. Labor lawyer David Scher discusses the NLRB's action.
Scher says that this will likely be an interesting and long legal battle. Scher points out that the right to protest is protected by the First Amendment, and freedom of speech and the right to organize are cherished and protected rights in America. “It is illegal to fire or discriminate against employees for protesting as long as they do so peacefully and without any physical harm to people.”
Not surprisingly, a McDonald’s spokesman said the company will fight the claims. "These allegations are driven in large part by a two-year, union-financed campaign that has targeted the McDonald’s brand and impacted McDonald’s restaurants," said Lisa McComb, a company spokeswoman. The claims will be considered by administrative law judges beginning in March 2015.
David L. Scher is a principal in The Employment Law Group. Mr. Scher focuses his practice on qui tam, whistleblower retaliation, and discrimination cases in D.C., Maryland, California, and nationally. He represents federal and corporate whistleblowers who have reported their employer’s wrongdoing. Mr. Scher is a frequent news commentator and has appeared on local news WUSA9 (Montgomery county, Maryland), KSBW8 (Salinas, Monterey, Santa Cruz), as well as ABC World News and on Hearst Television, Inc. stations across the country. Additionally, Mr. Scher has been interviewed by Forbes.com, Politico, and the Washington Post on topics such as employment discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, free speech issues and related employment matters. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.