The popular restaurant chain is facing allegations of wrongful termination and discrimination. Victims are attempting to hold the parent corporation liable for the actions of franchisees.
McDonald's, the fast food mega giant, is facing yet another lawsuit. This time the popular burger joint is accused of wrongfully terminating ten employees. The employees allege that their positions were terminated due to their minority status, or that they were forced to quit due to excessive racial harassment.
The employees in the suit, nine African-American and one Hispanic, allege that supervisors at three restaurants subjected them to "rampant racial and sexual harassment." The workers also allege that they contacted McDonald's corporate office, but that no action was taken. The suit contends that the parent corporation has control over "nearly every aspect of its restaurants' operations" and should also be held responsible for the harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination faced by these workers, according to a recent report in USA Today.
Broad implications: Will the wrongful termination case provide clarity on the obligations of the parent corporation?
This lawsuit is unique because it attempts to hold the parent corporation, not just the franchise owners, liable for discriminatory practices at a local restaurant. McDonald's Corp. contends that it is unfair to hold parent corporations liable for the actions at a local restaurant since the franchisees are responsible for managing the working conditions and setting wages. This suit will test exactly where the line is drawn between the parent corporation and the franchisee.
Legal experts told The Wall Street Journal that they were not surprised to see this type of lawsuit emerge. They state that based on a recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an organization that primarily decides collective bargaining issues, a lawsuit taking on the parent corporation was expected.
The decision occurred this past summer. It stated that McDonald's Corp. could be treated as a joint employer in labor dispute issues against franchisees. Although this decision may encourage similar civil suits, it is important to note that the court is not required to follow the decisions of the NLRB. Critics of this decision argue that allowing the parent corporation to be treated as a joint employer "undermines a longtime business model that gives store owners autonomy and helps the economy thrive," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Bringing it home: What does this mean for victims of wrongful termination in Indiana?
The case against McDonald's is gaining national attention and could set precedent to be followed throughout the country. As a result, those who are facing discrimination or were the victims of wrongful termination are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced wrongful discharge or termination lawyer. This legal professional will be able to guide you through the case, advocating for your rights and helping to better ensure a more favorable outcome.
Keywords: wrongful termination