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Posts from October 2017.
By Abby Risner on October 27, 2017 at 10:52 AM

Image of the front of the United States CapitolThe enforceability of class action waivers in arbitration provisions has been debated for years in courts across the country, including in several cases before the United States Supreme Court. This week, Congress weighed in on the ongoing debate. 

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By Dawn Johnson on October 26, 2017 at 9:00 AM EST

Man gets fingerprint scannedA nearly 10-year-old Illinois privacy law that has sparked class action lawsuits against familiar tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Shutterfly has moved into the franchise industry.

Following in the footsteps of claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, class action lawyers are now filing lawsuits under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) alleging that companies are unlawfully collecting biometric information from customers and employees through devices such as fingerprint scanners. Plaintiffs are suing both franchisors and franchisees. Franchisors are being sued for collecting the information themselves for their own employees and also for the actions of their franchisees on theories of joint and several liability, vicarious liability, agency and alter ego. A recently filed case alleges that a franchisor mandates and controls virtually every aspect of its franchise locations, including the use of certain equipment that collects biometric information to track employees’ time and attendance and to monitor cash register systems for fraud. Other cases allege that franchisors and franchisees are using it to track health and fitness information and authenticate customers’ transactions.  

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By Dawn Johnson, Dominique de Vastey on October 17, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Hotel bed with pillowsWhile state and national efforts are underway to clarify the issue of joint employment, plaintiffs continue to allege the theory against franchisors in hopes of getting past a motion to dismiss. The lesson in one such recent case was that franchisors that give product discounts to their franchisees’ employees may find their generosity backfires if they are sued for being a joint employer in certain states. A federal district court in Michigan recently found that food service managers working at Marriott franchises had alleged enough facts to survive a motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that the franchisor, Marriott International, Inc., exercises control over them and is their joint employer. Among the allegations that the court cited in denying Marriott’s motion to dismiss was that Marriott treated plaintiffs like Marriott employees by giving them discount room rates at Marriott hotels worldwide, which the court said could be viewed as the ability to affect compensation and benefits similar to an employment relationship.

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