Ruling threatens viability of Massachusetts franchises

A trial centering on the question of whether franchisees are employees or independent contractors is setting off alarms within the franchising industry. The case involving Coverall North America, which goes to trial Monday, has drawn attention because U.S. District Judge William Young ruled in a preliminary decision that the company didn't establish that franchisees are independent contractors. The International Franchise Association has been actively working with Massachusetts legislators, urging them to exempt franchise businesses from the state's independent-contractor law.

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