McDonald’s Corp. Not Liable as a “Joint Employer” with Franchises for Wage Claims

McDonald’s Corp. Not Liable as a “Joint Employer” with Franchises for Wage Claims

On October 1, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Salazar v. McDonald’s Corp. affirmed summary judgment in favor of McDonald’s Corp. in a class action lawsuit brought by former hourly paid employees who alleged that they were denied overtime premiums, meal and rest breaks, and other benefits in violation of the California Labor Code. The Plaintiffs worked at McDonald’s franchises in the Bay Area that were operated by the Haynes Family Limited Partnership, but they also sued McDonald’s Corp. alleging that it breached a duty care owed them by inadequately supervising Haynes’ managers and failing to prevent violations of California’s hour-and-wage laws.

After the plaintiffs and Haynes reached a class wide settlement, McDonald’s Corp. moved for summary judgment. The Salazar court found that while McDonald’s Corp. exercised control over the means and manner of work performed at its franchises, such was geared specifically toward “quality control and maintenance of brand standards,” and it “did not retain a general right of control over day-to-day aspects of work at the franchises.” Accordingly, the Salazar court held that McDonald’s Corp. was not a joint employer of the workers at its franchises, and that it owed them no duty of care.