Pivotal Points: 50 Years and 100 Days

By Robert Cresanti, CFE
The first six weeks of President Trump’s new administration have brought some surprises, along with a few potential bright spots for franchise businesses. With the appointment of Philip Miscimarra as the Acting Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a shortlist of pro-business candidates to fill two vacant seats emerging as this edition of the magazine went to press, the joint employer issue is getting some attention. While there is a long road ahead to overturning the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris Industries case that expanded the definition beyond “direct and immediate” control, and a permanent legislative fix is still necessary, joint employer is clearly among the Trump administration’s priorities.
An update on joint employer and vicarious liability is one of many topics at this year’s IFA Legal Symposium, which is celebrating 50 years in 2017. Taking place May 7-9 in Washington, D.C., the Legal Symposium is the franchising industry’s premier event for legal counsel, senior leaders, compliance officers, administrators and anyone who works within the legal, regulatory and business management functions of a franchise business. While the 2016 Legal Symposium featured Miscimarra, one of the most vocal critics of the Browning-Ferris decision, the keynote speaker at this year’s symposium — Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Acting Chairman and Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen — is certain to offer an insider’s view on the goals of the new administration. 
Sworn in as FTC Commissioner in April 2012 and designated Acting Chairman in January 2017, Ohlhausen is an expert on privacy, data protection and cybersecurity. During a recent speech at an antitrust legal forum, Ohlhausen stated her intent to continue the agency’s work in protecting competition while advancing principles that were “overlooked or undervalued” under the Obama administration. At the Legal Symposium, Ohlhausen will explain how the FTC’s priorities under the Trump administration will impact the franchising community. Partnering with Ohlhausen will be essential on initiatives such as the next update of the Franchise Rule.
With the first 100 days of the Trump administration officially ending on April 29, the Legal Symposium’s keynote panel will focus on how one of the most closely watched periods in history will set the tone for the remainder of the term. After IFA Chair Shelly Sun, CFE, BrightStar Care CEO, opens the symposium, Philip Zeidman, Senior Partner at DLA Piper, will speak about the 50th anniversary of the event and franchising developments over the years.
Ohlhausen’s keynote and the First 100 Days panel are just the beginning of the Legal Symposium, which is packed with timely content on topics such as due diligence, financial performance representations, international development, ethics and more. For more information and a full listing of sessions, read Jan Gilbert’s Legal Symposium preview on page 19, and go to www.franchise.org/legal-symposium to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

Closing Out #IFA2017

I’d like to thank the nearly 4,000 attendees who visited this year’s IFA Convention in Las Vegas, and extend the entire IFA staff and Board of Directors’ grateful appreciation to all the #IFA2017 sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and guests — we couldn’t put on an event of this scope without your support, and we are extremely grateful! Attendance topped the previous record and IFA staff heard over and over that this was the best and most productive convention yet. See photos starting on page 52, and take advantage of early rates for #IFA2018, set for Feb. 10-13, 2018 in Phoenix, Ariz.