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Best of the Forum: Using Franchise Associations and Advisory Councils to Avoid Joint Employer Risk and Enhance the Brand

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: March 01, 2018
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1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
  • Franchise Advisory Councils
  • Independent Franchisee Associations
  • Stumbling Blocks
  • Confidentiality Agreements
  • Commending Communications
  • Establishing a Relationship
  • Litigation-System Wide Issues/Changes
  • Franchise Agreement Negotiations
  • The Joint Employer Issue
  • Maintaining the Best of Relationships
Runtime: 1 hour and 31 minutes
Recorded: March 1, 2018


In this program, you'll learn about how and when franchisors can utilize franchisee associations and advisory councils in order to facilitate system change and provide support to franchisees on day-to-day issues, including operations, employment, and human resources.

An effective association can assist franchisors with tasks such as hiring consultants to provide HR advice as well as wage and hour compliance training to franchisees. A properly leveraged relationship between franchisor and a franchisee association can help franchisors find the sweet spot between HR support of franchisees and joint employer peril, and create enhanced collaboration, feedback, and guidance on operations, innovations and other system improvements.

The panelists will discuss the opportunities for, and challenges to, establishing working relationships with associations. A collaborative relationship can help both parties develop a mutual understanding of the issues facing the system, incentivize further franchisee investment in the brand, elevate franchisee buy-in, and minimize franchisee discontent and the attendant risk of litigation.

This program was recorded on March 1st, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Eric H. Karp

Witmer, Karp, Warner & Ryan, LLC

Mr. Karp serves as counsel to numerous franchisee associations in such chains as 7-Eleven, Choice Hotels, Hardee’s, Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken, Long John Silver’s, TCBY Yogurt, Midas, Portable On Demand Storage, Krystal Restaurants, Jackson Hewitt, Get In Shape For Women, Pet Supplies Plus, Dale Carnegie, Remedy Staffing, Resort Maps, and Massage Envy. In that capacity, he provides a broad range of advice and guidance to the leadership of the associations on matters including the franchise disclosure documents, franchise agreements and issues that affect the relationship between the franchisee community and the franchisor as well as vendors and suppliers to the system. He has represented franchisees throughout the country in a myriad of franchise issues including sales, purchases, relocations, remodels, transfers, defaults and terminations and lease issues.

Mr. Karp is the Chair-Elect of the Governing Committee of American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Franchising, served as its Finance Officer from 2011 to 2016 and was the Co-Chair of the 2013 Annual Forum on Franchising meeting. He was also Editor-In-Chief of The Franchise Lawyer from 2008 to 2010 and has served on the Section Officers Council of the ABA since 2010.

Mr. Karp served on the Board of Directors of the American Franchisee Association (AFA) for ten years. Mr. Karp also served as Chair of the AFA Model Responsible Franchise Practices Act Committee, was the principal author of the Model Act and served as the Program Chair of the 1999 AFA Franchisee Legal Symposium. Mr. Karp was a member of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD), a member of its Fair Franchising Standards Committee and Co-Chair of the AAFD 17th Anniversary Conference and Franchisee Leadership Summit in May 2009.

In June 1994 Mr. Karp testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee on "Self-Regulation of Franchising: The IFA Code of Ethics." An elected delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business, Mr. Karp has three times testified before committees of the Massachusetts Legislature on franchise issues, most recently in June 2011. Mr. Karp has provided advice and assistance to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and its staff on proposed federal legislation on franchising.

Since 1996 Mr. Karp has served on the Franchise Project Group of the Franchise and Business Opportunities Committee of the North American Securities Administrators Association. He has six times been a presenter at the ABA Forum on Franchising, thrice at the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium and was an active participant in the debate over the revision of the Federal Trade Commission’s Franchise Disclosure Rule from 1997 to 2007.

Mr. Karp has been a guest lecturer at Babson College in its MBA program on franchising. Mr. Karp serves as a member of the Council of Advisors of the Gerson Lehman Group, an independent primary research firm serving domestic and international business and investment leaders, providing advice and consultation on franchise issues and relationships.

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Brenda B. Trickey

General Counsel
Edible International, LLC

Brenda is the General Counsel at Edible International, LLC. She is known for partnering with business units and third parties to achieve exemplary results through innovation and collaboration, inspiring trust, managing expectations and mitigating risks. Fueled by a passion for tackling "the tough stuff" and developing team members.

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