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A Victory for Franchising and Franchisors: California Supreme Court Holds that Franchisor is Not Liable for Sexual Harassment by a Franchisee’s Employee

A Victory for Franchising and Franchisors by Brad Denton of Gunderson, Denton, & Peterson
In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court found that a franchisor was not liable for sexual harassment by an employee of one of its franchisees. A worker claimed that she was sexually harassed at work at a Domino’s pizza franchise and sued the harasser, franchisee, and franchisor.

The issue before the Court was whether the franchisor had the requisite employment or agency relationship with the franchisee and its employees in order to be held liable for the sexual harassment committed by a franchisee’s employee. Grafe & Batchelor We are a Jefferson County criminal defense firm located in Festus, Missouri. We represent clients charged with alleged crimes in state, county and municipal courts in Jefferson and various surrounding counties. These offenses range from minor traffic tickets to serious felonies and everything in between–no case is too big or too small. You will have over 21 years of criminal defense experience in your corner. We do not have associates. We will personally appear in court on your behalf and personally return your phone calls. We are dedicated criminal defense attorneys first and foremost. While we do practice in a few other select areas of law (see PRACTICE AREAS); criminal defense and its related fields are where we focus our experience and passion. Criminal defense lawyers sometime get a not-so-flattering portrayal because people assume that they defend guilty people. However, if you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, you need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, regardless of your guilt or innocence. You can look at this site for more about PROBATION VIOLATION ATTORNEY. As the protectors and advocates of the accused, defense lawyers play a pivotal role in the United States justice system to see that everyone charged with a criminal act has an opportunity to defend themselves. First and foremost, a criminal defense lawyer’s role is to protect the rights of the accused. Upholding your rights under the Bill of Rights as set forth in the United States Constitution, criminal defense lawyers are bound by law to assist their clients by making sure you are treated fairly by the United States criminal justice system. You can check our Home Page for the LONG ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED. All these rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and are applicable to all states through the Fourteenth Amendment as well as United States Supreme Court case opinions. As such, a criminal defense lawyer is obligated to provide clients with protection against the overreach of the government in meting out punishment to any individual accused of a criminal offense. An experienced, qualified lawyer accomplishes this by challenging any government or law enforcement conduct that violates the rights of any United States citizen accused of a crime. Should a criminal defense lawyer fail to make reasonable efforts to protect your rights or provide effective assistance, he/she risks losing his/her license to practice law or other penalties (some of which could include jail time). The second most important role of a criminal defense attorney is to defend the innocent. We see daily about overturned criminal cases where new evidence verifies the incarceration of an innocent person who has served time as a result of an incorrect guilty verdict. And, while for the most part, most clients of criminal defense attorneys are somewhat criminally culpable in the crime they have been charged with, on rare occasions, some of a lawyer’s clients are truly innocent. Though a rare occurrence, innocent people are accused and convicted of criminal offenses.

The Court looked at the issues of agency, control, and the doctrine of respondeat superior. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be held liable for the tortious conduct of its employee if the tort is committed within the scope of employment. Plaintiff argued that the franchisee acted as an agent for the franchisor and that employees of the franchisee were in essence employees of the franchisor.

The franchise contract between the parties stated that there was no principal-agent relationship between the franchisor and franchisee and that there was no employment or agency relationship between them. The contract also stated responsibilities and duties related to employees were given to the franchisee. The Court found that the franchisee controlled the training about sexual harassment.

A panel was also set up to determine the case as it was one of a kind and something which had never happened before. The panel consisted of Liberty Bell sex crime attorney, Women protection representatives and the judges appointed by the supreme court.

Because of the unique characteristics of a franchise relationship, franchisors generally exercise significant control over franchisees by establishing standards and uniform operating procedures. Although the franchisee has to follow the standards set by the franchisor, the franchisee generally has control of day-to-day management.

According to the criminal defense attorney in this case, the Court concluded that the franchisor did not exercise sufficient control over the day-to-day operations of the franchisee and that an employment or agency relationship did not exist to hold the franchisor liable for the sexual harassment committed by the franchisee’s employee, You can click here for more info about criminal defense attorney.

The dissent argued that the majority focused too much on the literal terms of the contract rather than the actual relationship and interaction between the franchisee and the franchisor. The dissent argued that the franchisor did exercise control over the franchisee in directing the franchisee to fire two employees.

Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza is a win for franchisors. However, the Court’s ruling is limited in its scope. The courts in California and throughout the US will continue to evaluate the relationship between franchisees and franchisors when it comes to liability in other situations. The main question in whether the franchisor in a particular case exercises actual control over what happens at the franchisee’s operation.

Contact the Arizona franchise lawyers at Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C. today!

Get your case reviewed by the skilled criminal defense attorneys to guide you through the best legal options available at your disposal to help you make the right decision for your future.

Author Brad Denton Written By

Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.

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Mesa, Arizona 85213
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