Are The McDonald’s Corporation and Franchise Owners “Joint Employers”?

Seven class action Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits are pending against McDonald’s Corporation and numerous McDonald’s franchises alleging wage and hour violations. The FLSA requires that employers pay at least minimum wage and provide non-exempt workers overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay. If you have questions about your rights pursuant to the FLSA or believe that you have not been paid what you deserve, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.

According to the recently filed lawsuits, McDonald’s Corp. and the franchises violated federal wage and hour laws in several significant ways. For example, the lawsuits allege that McDonald’s improperly shaved time from employees’ time cards, failed to pay overtime compensation to those employees who worked more than 40 hours in a work week, and required employees to work off the clock.

While such allegations are common in wage and hour lawsuits, the class action lawsuits also raise an interesting argument – that the McDonald’s Corporation is a joint employer of the franchisee workers. The lawsuits allege that the corporation plays a “heavy hand” in monitoring and guiding many of the franchisees’ timekeeping policies and structures. For example, the timekeeping software provided by the corporation dictated when individual store managers could allow workers to clock in based on the amount of sales. Often, the workers were required to work “off the clock” as a result of this practice, according to the lawsuits.

In determining whether the corporation served as a “joint employer” a court will typically look at the entirety of the circumstances – such as the ability to hire or fire employees, supervision of workers schedules and issues such as wages and working conditions. Whether the court will determine such arrangement exists in this situation could potentially have a great impact on franchise workers’ rights and remedies across the country.

For more information or if you believe that you have not been paid all you deserve, or that your employer has violated wage and hour laws, please contact the experienced Georgia wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.