The California Supreme Court on August 28 2014 reached a 4-3 ruling on
sexual harassment which was at odds with the decision of the National
Labor Relations Board’s general counsel the month before. In that
case, the counsel had decided that McDonald’s could be held accountable
for labor violations of their franchisees.
The state supreme court, on the other hand, ruled that a franchise parent
company cannot automatically be held liable for the acts of their franchisee.
The ruling was on a case involving a Domino’s franchise where an
employee claimed her manager sexually harassed her, and after complaining
to the corporate headquarters and took a week off work, she alleged her
manager had cut her hours in retaliation for her harassment report.
In determining whether Domino’s could be held liable for its franchise
owner’s actions, the court looked to how much authority Domino’s
exercised over the daily operations of the franchisee. According to the
court, while some things were overseen by Domino’s, certain policies
such as hiring and firing were left to the franchisee.
Since no corporate sexual harassment policy existed, the policy in question
stemmed from the franchisee. The court did not state that a franchisor
could never be held liable, but when it came to this case, where firing
was clearly at issue, the court held that Domino’s did not possess
sufficient control to make it liable for the franchisee‘s actions.
If you have been victimized by your employer in any way, speak to a Hollister
employment attorney from Marder Employment Law right away.