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IFA OPPOSES BILLS THAT WOULD BURDEN FRANCHISED BUSINESSES IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES

For immediate release
Contact: Alisa Harrison, 202-628-8000

  Legislation Would Benefit the Trial Bar and not Victims

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 9, 2009—The International Franchise Association, in letters sent this week, urged the new Congress to oppose two pieces of legislation that will increase litigation rather than directly address job and business growth in a severely weakened economy.  Both bills, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives previously, but were blocked in the Senate.  They were reintroduced on the first day of the session on Tuesday and will be considered by the full House today. 

“The franchise industry strongly supports equal employment opportunity and opposes unlawful discrimination,” said David French, vice president of Government Relations. “It is unfortunate, however, that the House has chosen to begin work this year with a litigation-first agenda at a time when the U.S economy and hundreds of thousands of small businesses are struggling.  These two bills will unfairly increase the risk of unnecessary litigation against employers likely causing further job loss and weaker economic output.”

The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would eliminate the statute of limitations for claims involving wage discrimination.  This would allow individuals to file claims for actions taken years or even decades in the past.  The Paycheck Fairness Act would make it easier to file class action lawsuits, and it would allow trial lawyers to seek unlimited punitive and compensatory damages from employers for violations of the Equal Pay Act.  Since 1963, it has been illegal to discriminate against individuals in similar jobs on the basis of gender. 

“The economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, and the House is responding today with legislation that will only result in the hiring of more trial lawyers,” French said.  “Instead of focusing on legislation that places additional, unnecessary regulatory burdens on employers, Congress should take steps to help franchised businesses find access to credit so that they can continue their significant contributions to the economy, including creating jobs in communities across the country.”

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About The International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association, the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising, is the preeminent voice and acknowledged leader for the industry worldwide. Approaching a half-century of service with a growing membership of more than 1,300 franchise systems, 10,000-plus franchisees and more than 500 firms that supply goods and services to the industry, IFA protects, enhances and promotes franchising by advancing the values of integrity, respect, trust, commitment to excellence, honesty and diversity. For more information, visit the IFA Web site at www.franchise.org.

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