The second largest consumer tax preparer in the United States has just been hit with a lawsuit filed by former employees alleging a “no-poach” conspiracy between the company and its franchisees, according to a complaint filed in New Jersey federal court.

In the suit, the former Jackson Hewitt employees seek to represent any person who worked at one of the tax company’s locations between January 2000 and December 2018. This proposed class action suit is seeking treble damages, attorney fees, and an injunction that would prohibit the company from using agreements that prevent employees from moving between Jackson Hewitt locations going forward.


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The U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers announced last week that they have prepared a bill that would establish that a business simply licensing a trademark, such as in the case of a license from a franchisor to a franchisee, would not create a so-called “joint employer” relationship.

Joint employment is the sharing of control and supervision of an employee’s activity among two or more businesses. This new bill, called the Trademark Licensing Protection Act of 2018, declares that if a company is licensed to use a trademark, this should not be enough to establish “an employment or principal agent relationship” between the two licensing entities.


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Eight national restaurant chains have agreed to drop provisions in their franchise agreements that prohibit franchisees from hiring fellow franchisees’ employees. The removal of the “no-poach” hiring stipulation will be effective at all of their locations nationwide.

This move comes at the heels of announcements from Attorneys General from 10 states and the District of Columbia to investigate these “no-poaching” agreements. In addition to criminal and civil enforcement by both the state and federal governments, several franchisors are also facing federal class action lawsuits from employees alleging they were adversely affected by “no-poach” agreements.


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With the recent news out of Washington that the Department of Labor has withdrawn Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1 (its previous informal guidance on joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)), and with the National Labor Relations Board pulling back the broad joint employer standard set in the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. case, many are under the impression that the joint employer storm has passed.

While these are certainly welcome developments, franchisors should be careful not to dismiss the threat of joint employer liability too quickly. This is particularly true if you have outlets located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and/or West Virginia.


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The decision of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in July 2014 to authorize the filing of administrative complaints against McDonald’s USA, LLC (“McDonald’s”), the largest franchisor of restaurants in the United States, and recent court decisions, highlight one of the hottest issues in franchise law. Are your franchisees and their employees actually your employees?

In addition to unveiling the new iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, also recently announced that the approximate 500 million iTunes users would also be receiving a free digital copy of U2’s latest album, Songs of Innocence. The album would be automatically downloaded and appear in each user’s iTunes library without the person