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HISTORIC TENNESSEE JOINT EMPLOYER/INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR BILL BECOMES LAW

IFA builds on momentum of legislative wins in state legislatures to halt National Labor Relations Board’s anti-franchise campaign.

By Jeff Hanscom

 

On April 10, Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) signed into law Senate Bill 475, which clearly defines the independent contractor nature of the franchisor/franchisee relationship, including the joint employer issue, by making clear via statute neither a franchisee nor its employees are employees of a franchisor.

Working closely with groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association plans to build upon the momentum of this legislative win. Louisiana, Michigan and Texas legislatures are considering similar legislation.

“These state bills are laser-focused in pushing back at the unprecedented and unjustified overreach of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in its attempt to redefine the franchise model,” said Robert Cresanti, IFA executive vice president of government relations.

While IFA has fought against legislation in other states — such as Connecticut and New York — that would create joint employer situations between franchisees and franchisors, more states are moving forward with clarifying the independent status of franchisees.

IFA, through the Coalition to Save Local Businesses (savelocalbusinesses.com), plans to work for the introduction of more than a dozen state bills during the 2016 session to protect the franchise model.

“This is part of a multi-prong strategy of engaging state legislators, attorneys general and mayors to put pressure on the NLRB to do the right thing, and in this case, the right thing is to not harm the franchise model, which has proven itself to be an engine of economic growth,” Cresanti said.

Jeff Hanscom is director, state government relations and public policy for the International Franchise Association. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org.

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