Protecting Franchisee Equity in California – and Beyond

Editor’s note: This month, Independent Joe offers an updated look at the legal impact from California’s Franchsie Relations Act, which has been covered extensively in this magazine. Franchise attorney Peter Lagarias provides this review of the statutory changes and how they affect Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners. The landmark California Franchise Relations Act (CFRA), which went…

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What the NLRB’s ruling means for your Employee Handbooks

In its recent ruling on the case involving the metals manufacturer Minteq International, Inc., the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continued its expansion of employee rights by finding that two common provisions in a non-compete agreement were “unlawfully overbroad rules” that interfered with employees’ rights in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations…

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How Vicarious Liability Can Leave Franchisees Exposed

It is fairly common for franchisees and franchisors to be sued together for an injury that occurred at a franchised location. Likewise, more recent lawsuits have extended to employment-related claims alleging that the franchisor and franchisee are “joint employers” and, therefore, jointly liable for any alleged misconduct of employees at the franchised location. In the…

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One vs. Many: Structuring a Multi-Unit Franchise Network

When advising clients on the acquisition of a multi-unit franchise network, we are often posed the age-old question: “Should we own the assets in one entity or multiple entities?” At the risk of sounding too much like a lawyer, the answer to this question is, “It depends.” Each franchisee has a unique set of hot…

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A look on the law: Why elusive franchise legislation is fundamentally important

Franchise legislation can provide fundamental protections for franchisees. Franchise agreements are often non-negotiable and provide few rights for franchisees. The fine print of franchise agreements is by, of, and for the franchisor. Without franchise statutes, franchisees’ rights are usually limited by the terms of the franchise agreement. What can franchise legislation do to overcome the…

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How Equal Access Laws Affect Franchise Owners

“Equal access” has meant various things, for various classes of people, throughout the history of the United States. For some, it has meant being able to eat at the same restaurants or drink from the same water fountains. For others, it has meant having the right to vote. And, notwithstanding great strides in this country…

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Court Examines Whether Managers are Exempt from Overtime

When I was a child, I once heard my father tell a client: “If you are looking for loyalty, then you will find it in the dictionary.” Decades later this exchange still sticks with me. No matter how well we treat our employees, it takes very little for one of them to turn on us…

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Sign At Your Own Risk: Critical Lease Provisions to Negotiate or Avoid

Negotiating a retail lease is one of the most critical stages in the life of a quick service restaurant. Each lease presents is own distinct issues and challenges; failing to have significant attention to detail can inadvertently result in an unsuccessful business or impede your growth; one oversight can destroy your succession plan or exit…

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