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McDonald's faces labor issues

New York readers with a taste for fast food may be interested in the latest issue for McDonald's and the labor practices of its franchisees. Labor law experts feel that the chain could be named as a joint employer in numerous complaints filed by workers at franchised restaurants. This could make the McDonald's Corporation liable for the management decisions of franchisees.

A representative for McDonald's noted that it has never been considered a joint employer before and would fight an unfavorable decision by the labor board. However, labor organizers contend that McDonald's should be considered a joint employer because it has so much control over how the franchises are run. This control includes training materials, menus and uniforms.

According to records kept by the National Labor Relations Board, McDonald's has faced 181 complaints by employees since 2012. The records further indicate that 43 of the cases were found to have merit, and McDonald's as well as its franchisees may be named as respondents if a settlement can't be reached. This situation also comes on the heels of a number of protests asking for a $15 minimum wage. McDonald's has steered clear of this issue thus far by saying wages are set by the franchisees, who own the vast majority of the restaurants.

Employees are entitled to a workplace that is both safe and fair. If a dangerous or unfair work situation occurs and the employer refuses to address it, employees have the right to register complaints with state or local authorities. The complaint is generally investigated, and if it is deemed to have merit, action is taken to try and reach a resolution.

Source: ABC News, "McDonald's: Regulator Says It's a 'Joint Employer'", Candice Choi, July 29, 2014

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