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Fast food new frontier of wrongful termination

Across all socioeconomic strata, workers have one thing in common: they want to protect their jobs. A part of that protection includes making sure that they will be justly compensated in the event of wrongful termination. Another part is making sure that if they are terminated justly, the standard for doing so is fair and clear. Franchisees want that standard in place so the corporate chains can't end the franchisees' contracts and deprive them of their livelihood.

These aspirations are front and center in the fast food industry, with the world's most popular hamburger restaurants affected by them. In California, a bill could give franchisees protections regarding when their contracts with corporate restaurant chains can be terminated by those chains. If it passes, the bill will have a very significant impact on local business owners who have found the franchise model to be a profitable approach to business.

In that model, they typically make an upfront investment and pay ongoing fees. In exchange, they get national brand recognition, advertising and the right to make the popular restaurant chain's food and drink offerings in their area. The corporation can dictate everything from menu offerings to kitchen equipment.

The trouble is that corporations can also take the franchisee's right to operate the restaurant away from them for what many feel are minor reasons. The franchisees are uncomfortable with this and want to make sure that the work agreements can only be terminated with just cause. That is a key reason for the current bill, which the governor has not yet indicated if he will sign or not.

Some workplace agreements exist between business owners and corporations. Others exist between business owners and employees. Regardless of position, those who feel they are facing wrongful termination may want to speak with an employment attorney to learn more about their options.

Source: V News, "Fast-Food Franchises Standing Up To Corporate Owners Over Control" Candice Choi, Oct. 05, 2014

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