Following allegations that the franchises of parent company McDonalds USA LLC violated the rights of employees to protest employment conditions, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that McDonald’s, USA, LLC is a joint employer and bears some responsibility for the complaints. The move could have wide-ranging implications on the potential unionization of fast food workers, and authorizes complaints against the multibillion-dollar McDonald’s parent company rather than individual franchisers.
Since 2012, the NLRB has seen 181 cases involving McDonalds in which employees say they were mistreated, penalized or let go following pro-labor protests and activities seeking to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers. Sixty-eight of those cases were found to be meritless, and another 64 are still pending investigations. However, in 43 of those cases in which parties could not reach settlements with the franchises employing them, the NLRB has now authorized plaintiffs to bring complaint against McDonalds USA LLC as a joint-employer.