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Can I obtain a copy of a franchise agreement?

Lansing, MI |

I was illegally terminated where the employer retaliated against me because I complained of disability discrimination. The employer is a franchisee. I followed the employer's handbook to the letter, which states discrimination and retaliation complaints should be reported to the franchisor. However, when I requested an investigation for falsification for my personnel record and requested appeal of the decision to illegally terminate with the franchisor, I was told a franchise agreement allows the franchise to conduct its own investigations. In other words, I was misled by the franchisee's own handbook for employees and franchisor's the code of business conduct and ethics for franchisees. I would like a copy of the franchise agreement.

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

As a franchise attorney , who has actually walked the walk, owning and operating a very successful franchise, and a court-accepted, testifying franchise expert, I can say the following.

If the franchisee or franchisor are unwilling to provide a copy of the franchise agreement voluntarily, you can obtain it in litigation via the discovery process.

You can also look into obtaining the franchise agreement through state franchise regulatory agencies that have these on file as a matter of public record. Whether these will be the exact agreement at issue here is another story.

Franchise agreements generally say the franchisee is an independent contractor and responsible for its own employment matters. However the employer's handbook, based on what you've said, seems to go beyond this and could expose the franchisor to liability. I've been involved as a franchise expert in a number of these cases. You really should speak with an attorney in your area that has expertise in these matters.

Best of luck,

Kevin B. Murphy, B.S., M.B.A., J.D.
Franchise Attorney & Franchise Expert
Director of Operations - Mr. Franchise
FRANCHISE FOUNDATIONS APC