Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the independent contractor statute also applies to the franchisor-franchisee relationship and does not conflict with the FTC Franchise Rule 7-Eleven franchisees may in fact qualify as employees under the state ABC test. With its decision in Patel v 7-Eleven, Inc. the court in some ways “threaded the needle” by ruling that applying the Massachusetts ABC test, one of the most stringent in the country, doesn’t mean that all franchisees are to be treated as employees, rather that such a determination is largely contingent upon the amount of control the franchisor exerts. Under the ABC test, a worker is considered an employee unless each of the following conditions is met: (1) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with his performance of the service; (2) the service is performed outside the usual course of the entity’s business; and (3) the individual is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as the service performed. In addition, the court also found no conflict between the FTC Franchise Rule and the aforementioned state ABC test. The state Supreme Court did not rule on the status of the 7-Eleven franchisees but rather solely on the question of applicability of the independent contractor law. The case will now go back to the federal court to consider their status under the law.