McDonald’s, EEOC to settle major joint employer lawsuit

McDonald’s reports that it has negotiated a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board in a long-running lawsuit that alleged the fast-food giant was as liable as a joint employer when its franchisees engaged in unfair labor practices.

In 2014, employees of several New York City McDonald’s claimed they were fired after protesting low pay and poor working conditions. The lawsuit began in 2016, and a trial court has heard hundreds of hours of testimony.

The NLRB, which initiated the lawsuit, asked the court to take a time-out in January so it could discuss settling with McDonald’s. The settlement was first reported March 26.

The NLRB’s original lawsuit filings alleged the McDonald’s parent company exerts so much control over franchise operations that it must be considered jointly liable for unfair labor practices. The NLRB cited the chain’s detailed hiring, personnel and compensation policies and procedures.

The judge in the case has yet to decide whether to accept the settlement, terms of which have not been disclosed.