In California, home to more than 550,000 fast-food workers, a new bill (AB 257) seeks to address these issues and empower workers with new wage and workplace protections.
Assembly Bill 1228, also known as the Fast Food Franchisor Responsibility Act, is a proposed legislation that aims to hold fast food corporations accountable for the labor violations of their franchisees in California.
Introduced by former Subway franchise owner Chris Holden, it would require fast food corporations to share all legal responsibility and liability for violations related to overtime, meal and rest breaks, health and safety, and anti-discrimination. It applies to any fast food chain with 100 or more establishments nationally, and wouldn’t affect independent restaurants.
It would also provide fast food workers the rights to sue franchisors for monetary damages if their agreements pose a barrier to labor law compliance. However, AB 1228 was primarily designed to quell the specific issue of joint employer liability in the fast-food industry. The bill passed the California State Assembly on June 1, 2023, and the California Senate has until September 14, 2023 to consider and vote on it.
Implications for Employers & Franchise Owners
Holden’s proposition is important because it seeks to address key issues of joint employer liability.
This refers to situations where two or more entities are considered to be employers of the same workers, and are therefore jointly responsible for complying with labor laws and paying the damages for any violations.
As of now, there’s no clear or consistent standard for determining joint liability in California or at the federal level. Instead, different courts and agencies have applied separate tests to assess joint liability, which often creates uncertainty and inconsistency for both workers and their employers.
With AB 1128, its supporters claim that the bill would offer clarity and uniformity to determining joint liability in the fast food industry.
However, opposers say it would undermine the franchise model and harm local owners who operate independently from their franchisors. They also allege that it would expose franchisors to excessive liability and litigation risks for actions they have no control over.
No matter the potential impact on fast food workers and their employers, it’s important for both parties to stay prepared should AB 1228 pass. Of course, should it pass, consider seeking the resolution of any disputes arising out of this or other employment-related laws through the mediation and alternative dispute resolution process.
Please feel free to reach out to me if I can be of assistance as a Mediator in helping to mediate any pre-litigation, during or post-litigation employment or Title IX claims. Learn more about my mediation practice and my affiliation with Signature Resolution here – https://signatureresolution.com/neutral-CPT/angela-j-reddock-wright/.
Experienced Employment & Title IX Mediator & ADR Professional
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment, labor law & Title IX mediator and alternative dispute resolution professional. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal, and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Signature Resolution, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation and resolution of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright, LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/angelareddock, and tune in to my weekly radio show, KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11 am PST, or catch past episodes on Anchor.fm/Spotify. You can learn more about the radio show here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/radio-show/.
Also, learn more about my book – The Workplace Transformed: 7 Crucial Lessons from the Global Pandemic – here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/book/.
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For more information regarding resources mediation and dispute resolution resources for both employees and employers, connect with Angela on LinkedIn for new updates or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.