·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Franchise Relationship Laws 

— May 1, 2024

Failure to comply with these legal frameworks can result in legal disputes, financial penalties, and damage to the franchisor-franchisee relationship.

Poor franchisor-franchisee relationships can lead to decreased profitability for both parties. Also, it may result in a tarnished brand reputation and customer dissatisfaction.

To effectively navigate arising issues, the transacting parties should prioritize seeking legal counsel. A skilled franchise attorney can help them navigate and resolve complex issues promptly.

Legal Frameworks Governing Franchisors and Franchisees

Here are 6 legal frameworks governing franchises:

Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

The FDD is a crucial legal framework that franchisors must provide to potential franchisees. This document contains detailed information about the franchisor’s business operations, including:

  • Financial statements
  • Obligations, and
  • Other relevant data.

Franchise Agreement

This legal document outlines the terms and conditions of the franchisor-franchisee relationship, including the rights and responsibilities of each party, territorial rights, fees, and operational guidelines.

Intellectual Property Laws

Franchisors often rely on trademarks, trade secrets, and proprietary business methods. Intellectual property laws protect these assets, ensuring that franchisees adhere to branding and operational standards while safeguarding the franchisor’s intellectual property rights.

Employment Laws

Both franchisors and franchisees must comply with federal, state, and local employment laws, including regulations related to wages, working conditions, anti-discrimination, and other labor-related matters.

Antitrust and Competition Laws

These laws prevent franchisors from engaging in anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing or market allocation, and ensure fair competition within the franchise industry.

Consumer Protection Laws

Franchise operations are subject to consumer protection regulations, which govern advertising practices, product safety, and fair business practices to protect consumers from deceptive or unfair treatment.

Legal Remedies for Franchisee Default

Legal remedies for franchisee default protect the franchisor’s interests and ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement, including:

Termination of the Franchise Agreement

If a franchisee is in default, the franchisor may have the right to terminate the franchise agreement. This allows the franchisor to end the relationship with the defaulting franchisee and seek a replacement.

Damages and Compensation

The franchisor may seek damages and compensation for any losses suffered as a result of the franchisee’s default. This could include lost profits, costs incurred due to the default, and other financial losses.

Injunctive Relief

Where the franchisee’s default poses a threat to the franchisor’s business or reputation, the franchisor may seek injunctive relief to prevent further harm. This could involve seeking a court order to stop the franchisee from engaging in certain activities or to enforce specific obligations.

Specific Performance

In some cases, the franchisor may seek specific performance, requiring the franchisee to fulfill their obligations under the franchise agreement. This could include actions such as making required payments, maintaining quality standards, or ceasing certain activities.

Liquidated Damages

The franchise agreement may include provisions for liquidated damages in the event of default. This allows the franchisor to claim a predetermined amount as compensation for the franchisee’s breach of contract.

Right to Cure

Some franchise agreements may provide the franchisee with a specified period to cure their default before the franchisor can take further action. This gives the franchisee an opportunity to rectify the default and avoid more severe consequences.

Franchise Dispute Resolution Strategies 

Below are the popular strategies for resolving franchise disputes:


Mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating discussions between the franchisor and franchisee to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. This approach allows both parties to express their concerns and work towards a compromise, avoiding costly litigation.


In arbitration, a neutral arbitrator hears arguments from both parties and makes a binding decision. This process is less formal and more efficient than litigation, providing a quicker resolution while maintaining a degree of legal enforceability.


Negotiation involves direct discussions between the franchisor and franchisee to find a resolution without involving third parties. This approach allows for flexibility and creativity in finding solutions that meet the needs of both parties.


Litigation involves resolving disputes through the court system. This approach can be costly and time-consuming but may be necessary for complex or high-stakes disputes where other methods have been exhausted.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Sexual Harassment Claims May No Longer Be Limited to Arbitration
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ADR encompasses various methods such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation, providing a flexible approach tailored to the specific needs of the dispute. It allows for a customized resolution process that can be more effective than traditional litigation.

Expert Evaluation

In this approach, both parties agree to bring in an industry expert or consultant to evaluate the dispute and provide an impartial assessment. The expert’s opinion can help guide the parties toward a resolution based on industry standards and best practices.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law involves the franchisor and franchisee working together with their respective legal representatives to find a mutually beneficial solution. This approach emphasizes open communication and cooperation, aiming to preserve the long-term relationship between the parties while addressing their concerns.

Understanding and adhering to these legal requirements is essential for both parties to maintain a successful and compliant franchise operation. Failure to comply with these legal frameworks can result in legal disputes, financial penalties, and damage to the franchisor-franchisee relationship.

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