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Legal news that affect small businesses and franchises, or legal advice for franchise owners

A Good Example of How Not to Comply with the ADA

The settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) aptly demonstrates the adage that sometimes the best example is a really bad example.

In Search of a Strong Mediator

Arthur Pressman, an attorney who has represented mostly franchisors, is senior counsel at Nixon Peabody, a law firm with more than 600 attorneys. Presently serving as a mediation specialist, he writes that recently a flurry of posts to the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising ListServ seek a "strong" mediator. But a "strong" mediator is in the eye of the beholder. What do they have in mind? Pressman explores the question, terming the relevant phrase "ISO [in search of] strong mediator." 

Franchisee, Economics Professor: 3 Problems with GOP Tax Bill

Jimmy John's Front Line
Jimmy John's front line stuffing sandwiches

Tim Wulf, a former economics professor who is a Jimmy John's franchisee and is a regular contributor of writings to trade and local publications, says that the new GOP tax bill lacks measures to boost labor productivity, which he says is the most important driver of US economic improvement.

National Labor Board Reverses Joint Employment Decision in Browning-Ferris

The International Franchise Association received an early Christmas present last Thursday when the National Labor Relations Board overruled its 2015 Obama-era decision by a 3-2 vote in the closely watched Browning-Ferris Industries case concerning the controversial topic of "joint employment."

Baskin-Robbins Lawyers Explain Away 'Fee' Charged to Its Supplier to Then Be Charged to Franchisees Is Not A 'Fee'

Gray Plant Mooty attorneys, representing Baskin-Robbins in litigation, clarified in a legal article yesterday, after a judge ruled in their favor in September, the issue at the center of the case that begs the question: When is a "fee" not a "fee."

The Myth of Secrecy (and Other Problems) in Franchise Arbitration

Arbitration is heralded as a way of providing for the just and efficient resolution of disputes.  Frequently arbitration fulfills this promise, but too often it does not. 

California Franchise Law Exam Scheduled for October

California is the only state in the Union that has a franchise legal specialist certification issued by its bar. However, in order to obtain the franchise law certification, an applicant must be practicing franchise law and pass the state’s one-day examination.

Ugly Truth #2: Many Commonly Utilized Handbook Policies Expose Employers to Liability Courtesy of NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing labor law in relation to union election, collective bargaining agreements between unions and employers, and unfair labor practices.  Unbeknownst to many employers, the National Labor Relation’s Act’s (“NLRA”) prohibition against unfair labor practices also extends to non-union employers. 

Franchisee Loses Suit over Non-Compete Clause in Renewal Franchise Agreement

A veterinary hospital franchisor waived the non-compete clause in its original franchise agreement with its franchisee, but when it came time for renewal, the franchisor said no deal unless the franchisee agreed to the non-compete clause. The franchisee had competing businesses that were there at the time of the original contract, disagreed with the newly enforced non-compete clause, and sued the franchisor for breach of contract and other claims.

Judge Calls Subway ‘Footlong’ Lawsuit a ‘Racket’ to Benefit Only Lawyers

The class-action lawsuit claiming damages because Subway’s footlong subs were alleged to actually be shorter was big news back in 2013. But in a ruling published last Friday, Chicago-based Judge Diane Sykes, who may be President Trump’s next U.S. Supreme Court nominee, reversed a lower court half-million-dollar settlement and penned some harsh words about the lawyers for the plaintiff.