McDonald's protests NLRB subpoena

by Erica Shaffer
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McDonald's is protesting an NLRB subpoena.
McDonald's says a subpoena from the NLRB is unfair and costly.

NEW YORK – McDonald’s Corp. has asked a federal judge to toss out a subpoena filed by the National Labor Relations Board in its case claiming the quick-service chain is a joint employer with its franchisees.

Court papers filed by McDonald’s lawyers say the company has produced 168,785 pages of documents at a cost of $1 million. McDonald’s argued that the subpoena is unfair and expensive. The NLRB’s general counsel is seeking emails and other documents produced by more than 50 McDonald’s executives and employees in direct contact with the company’s franchise owners.

The NLRB counsel also is seeking documents regarding McDonald’s efforts to counter protests seeking a minimum wage increase to $15. NLRB believes the information could point to a joint employment relationship.

In 2014, the NLRB Office of the General Council ruled that McDonald’s is a joint employer and can be held jointly liable for labor law and wage violations committed by its franchisees. Stakeholders in the foodservice industry argue that making franchisors liable for the actions of their franchisees completely changes the franchisor-franchisee business model and could lead to less entrepreneurship and job creation in the industry.

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