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Judge Overturns Rule Preventing Franchise Employees From Holding Corporations Responsible

Plus, Dave & Busters is laying off 1,300 employees, and more news to start your day

Person in gray shirt and red hat with back to the camera, facing a warming station of fried chicken in a fast food restaurant Shutterstock
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food and Travel Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

This could open the door for fast food workers to unionize

In January, the Department of Labor finalized new rules from the Trump administration that made it so franchise employee facing labor violations at businesses like McDonald’s or Subway could not hold corporations legally responsible for actions stemming from the franchise owner. This “joint employer” rule insulated corporations from being liable for things like workers comp, sexual harassment, or even could keep workers from collective bargaining as workers at different fast food locations of the same restaurant could all technically have different employers.

However, a federal judge in New York just overturned the rule, and while it’s sure to be appealed, the ruling could make it easier for employees at fast-food franchises to seek recourse for workplace violations. “Fast-food franchisees are smaller operations, with fewer resources; a worker may be unable to recover stolen wages, for instance, from a franchisee that declares bankruptcy,” writes The Counter. Corporations and franchisees will often pass the blame to each other, but should the judge’s ruling uphold, more pressure could be put on the corporations to take direct responsibility for worker safety.

And in other news...

  • Dave & Buster’s is laying off 1,300 employees, including some at locations listed to be reopening soon. [NRN]
  • Papa John has more opinions about Papa John’s. [Courier Journal]
  • A new report says President Trump’s farm bailout was unevenly distributed, favoring farmers in the south, and factory farms over smaller, independent farms. [Modern Farmer]
  • Another lawsuit, this one in Oklahoma, claims plant-based labeling conventions are a violation of First Amendment rights. [Fooddive]
  • Some restaurant owners are not happy about that CDC report that connected COVID-19 contraction with restaurant dining. [Fox]
  • And with this innovation, Snack Week comes to a close: