UPDATE 1-U.S. labor board judge rejects McDonald's bid to settle franchisees' case

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July 17 (Reuters) - A judge with a U.S. labor agency on Tuesday rejected McDonald's Corp's proposed settlement of a major case on whether the fast-food company is accountable for alleged labor law violations by franchisees across the country.

The settlement proposed in March lacked important details and would probably not bring an end to the sprawling case that began in 2012, National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito in New York said in a written opinion.

The settlement would have allowed McDonald's to avoid a ruling that it is a "joint employer" of workers at McDonald's franchises and can be held liable when franchisees violate federal labor law and made to bargain with unions.

Illinois-based McDonald's, which did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company had agreed to pay between $20 and $50,000 to individual workers who claimed they were fired for taking part in nationwide protests calling for higher wages.

Fight for $15, a union-backed worker advocacy group that organized the protests, had asked Esposito to reject the settlement.

Business groups have said that a ruling against McDonald's could upend the franchising model by making franchisors more vulnerable to lawsuits and requiring them to bargain with unions representing franchise workers. (Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)