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.