Coalition of Franchisee Associations Files Joint Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of Franchisees

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 7, 2017) – Yesterday, the Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA), along with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Franchise Association and the Restaurant Law Center, filed an Amicus Curiae Brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging two Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals decisions in DIRECTV, LLC AND DIRECTSAT USA, LLC v. MARLON HALL, ET AL. (DIRECTV) and its companion case SALINAS v. COMMERCIAL INTERIORS (Salinas).

CFA and the four other amici claim these recent decisions are unprecedented, overly broad and will serve to the great detriment of franchisees across the country. While CFA supports protections to prevent undue franchisor overreach, it asks the U.S. Supreme Court to create one federal definition by adopting a common law agency standard so that franchisees can retain their independent contractor status and run their businesses as they have done successfully for decades.

In the Salinas and DIRECTV cases, the court held that the “fundamental question” in determining joint employer status is whether the franchisor and franchisee are “completely disassociated” with each other in regard to the essential terms and conditions of a worker’s employment. This means that any association between the franchisor and franchisee in regard to the employee – including uniform requirements, wage and hour legal compliance and franchise branding matters – can result in the finding of a “joint employer” relationship. If left unchallenged, CFA believes these decisions will greatly damage the franchise model as it stands today.

“Franchising is a national asset that has provided the path to the American dream for countless families, including mine,” stated Rob Branca, CFA vice chairman and Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee. “It needs to be protected, and it is incumbent on people in this industry to take action. CFA is proud to join with our colleagues to pursue this protection all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

To view the full brief, please click here.