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Franchiser not liable for franchisee employees’ safety

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

If your company franchises operations in Minnesota, you probably aren’t responsible if a franchisee’s employees are injured—even if you conduct an annual safety inspection.

Recent case: Derek Schreyer was hurt while retreading a tire at work. An air compressor system failed, causing the tire to explode.

He got workers’ compensation benefits, but also sued the franchiser for negligence. Schreyer alleged that, because the franchiser did an annual safety inspection, it was responsible for any injuries to employees of its independent-contractor franchisees.

The court disagreed, deciding it takes far more control than that to create a legal duty to protect the contractor’s employees from harm.

Plus, requiring an annual inspection isn’t the same as assuming responsibility for a facility throughout the year. (Schreyer v. Bandag, No. 08-1123. 8th Cir., 2009)

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