Kevin J. O’Connor and Joseph Vento Co-Author Article For Defense Research Institute’s For The Defense Magazine
Published Date: January 26, 2018
Kevin J. O’Connor, Partner in the firm’s New Jersey office and Joseph Vento, Senior Associate in the firm’s New Jersey office, co-authored an article in the January 2018 publication of For The Defense, a publication of the Defense Research Institute. The article discusses mitigating risks from employment claims and an overview of the joint employee theory that has been used against franchisors. Typically, franchising is premised on ideas of uniformity, appearance, business practices and overall scope of services offered to the public. It points out how franchisors have to carefully document the relationship they have with franchisees and refrain from exercising too much control over the franchisee’s daily operations, so they won’t fall into the joint employer liability trap. The article explains that joint employment exists when the employee is held “employed by two or more employers,” making both franchisor and franchisee responsible individually and jointly for any violation of law by alleging that they are both part of a single enterprise, thereby, entitling a plaintiff to relief from both or either entity. Joint employer theory is being used to drag franchisors into employment cases. Franchisors can avoid this by disallowing the use of the brand name in franchise operating companies by stating in their documents that they operate separately and are independently owned.