The FTC on March 10 posted a solicitation for public comments on several questions relating to the relationship between franchisors and franchisees, as well as to franchisors’ involvement in certain franchisee employment matters and the relationship with third-party suppliers to franchisees.
Illinois is joining the online filing platform of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), allowing for franchise filings to be done online, as opposed to in hard copy, according to a Sept. 1, 2022, announcement.
Greensfelder Officer Beata Krakus was recently featured by 1851 Franchise as a 2021 Top Franchise Legal Player. Check out the publication’s interview with Beata to find out what drew her to franchising, the most common mistake franchise brands make, and what she thinks is the biggest legal hurdle facing the franchising industry in 2022.
Dawn Johnson, Beata Krakus, Susan Meyer, Abby Risner, and Leonard Vines recently attended two virtual franchise programs – the International Franchise Association Annual Convention and the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising.
As required every four years, adjustments to the FTC Franchise Rule’s monetary thresholds for certain exemptions are on the way.
The exemptions under the FTC Franchise Rule are intended to exclude franchise transactions in which the prospective franchisee doesn’t need the protection the rule is intended to provide. As several exemptions available under the FTC Franchise Rule are tied to dollar thresholds, they need to be adjusted from time to time to remain relevant. For example, when the current rule was adopted in 2007, a franchise sale was exempt from the FTC Franchise Rule’s disclosure requirements if the payments from the franchisee to the franchisor in the first six months of the franchisee’s operations did not exceed $500. Adjustment of the dollar threshold is necessary for this exemption not to become irrelevant with inflation.
This post was updated on April 8, 2020.
In recent days, several U.S. states have announced accommodations for franchise filings.
California announced an extension of time for calendar year franchisors to file their 2020 renewals from April 20 to June 20 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the renewal filing fee of $475 remains in effect if the renewal is filed by June 20, those who do not file by April 20 must suspend sales until approved. Filers are urged to file electronically and can sign their application forms using an e-sign software program, such as DocuSign, instead of getting their signatures notarized. Those who file by hard copy are asked to waive the automatic effectiveness, and their filing will not be effective until the actual date designated by order.
On March 18, 2020, the State Corporation Commission of Virginia extended current franchise registrations and exemptions under the Virginia Retail Franchising Act that would have expired between March 16, 2020, and April 6, 2020, by 21 days. The order indicates that if the COVID-19 emergency continues, one or more additional extensions may be granted by order.
March and April mean franchise registration renewal season for franchisors. Updating the franchise disclosure document (FDD) in a timely fashion is often a major challenge. COVID-19 has thrown much of the world, including franchisors, into a new, very uncertain reality. People and businesses are scrambling to respond and adapt. Yet, March and April remain the annual franchise registration renewal season with deadlines set by statute.
Most franchisors will be happy to hear that the NLRB on Dec. 14 nixed the Browning-Ferris expansion of the joint employer doctrine, which has been of concern to the franchise industry for several years. The new case is Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd. and Brandt Construction Co, 361 NLRB No. 156 (Dec. 14, 2017). Even though the board held that Hy-Brand and Brandt are collectively joint employers for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act, the joint employer standard applied is a significant departure from the Browning-Ferris standard.
SBA-backed loans have long been an important source of funding for many franchisees, but in the past several years, the system has been in flux. Changes will again be implemented on Jan. 1, 2018, and franchisors should ensure they are ready.