Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Franchise Story 2: Forbes Discusses One Franchisor's Practices

Forbes has published a story called "The Cult of Chick-fil-A," found here (free registration required) and at Westlaw (2007 WLNR 12995596). The article attempts to characterize Chick-fil-A's relationship with its franchisees, noting that Chick-fil-A allegedly "screen[s] prospective operators for their loyalty, wholesome values and willingness to buy into Chick-fil-A's . . . Christian credo." The article then discusses potential legal issues relating to such
. . . Is it legal? There are no federal laws that prohibit companies from asking
nosy questions about religion and marital status during interviews. Most companies don't because it can open them up to discrimination claims, says James Ryan, a spokesman for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Chick-fil-A has more freedom to ask whatever it wants of franchisees because they are independent contractors and not necessarily subject to federal employment discrimination laws. (Employees, however, may sue under those laws.)