McDonald’s ‘joint employment’ trial delayed amid settlement talks

NEW YORK: McDonald’s Corp and a US labour board are in talks to settle a case claiming the fast food company is liable for purported labour law violations by its franchisees, leading a judge on Friday to pause a trial that began in 2015.
Judge Lauren Esposito in Manhattan said that even though the trial is expected to wrap up as soon as next week, McDonald’s, its franchisees, and the National Labour Relations Board’s general counsel should have a chance to pursue a settlement.
The office of General Counsel Peter Robb requested the stay on Wednesday.
The general counsel said a board decision released last month in a separate case that narrowed the definition of “joint employment” may have wiped out some of the claims against McDonald’s.
The McDonald’s case had been seen as a test of when franchisors may be considered joint employers and required to bargain with unions or be held accountable for franchisees’ labour practices.
Business groups have said that treating franchisors as employers could upend the franchise model.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey said “McDonald’s USA is simply not a joint employer with its franchisees, and we are hopeful that this development will lead to a long overdue and successful resolution of the pending cases.” — AFP