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NY City Council Ends At-Will Employment For Fast Food Workers

On December 17, 2020, New York City Council passed amendments to the Fair Work Practices chapter of the New York City Administrative Code, referred to as the “Fair Work Week Law,” that will significantly alter the relationship between covered employers and employees of fast food establishments. Indeed, the employment relationship at New York City fast food restaurants will no longer be “at-will.” Unless they have a bona fide economic reason to reduce headcount, fast food employers will not be able to terminate or reduce the hours of a poor-performing employee who has completed a 30-day probationary period without proving they have “just cause” to do so.

The amendments, which Mayor de Blasio has said he will sign, take effect 180 days after they become law. As we noted in a prior alert, New York City Council passed the Fair Work Week Law in 2017, requiring fast food and retail employers to provide worker schedules in advance, give current employees priority in working shifts that become available or open, and to pay certain premium payments to fast food and retail employees when their schedules are changed or they are provided with fewer than 11 hours off between shifts. These amendments, passed City Council, go further by providing fast food employees with union-style protections against discharge and layoffs. The law also provides extreme remedies for violations of its provisions. 

Read the full article HERE.


NYC Fair Workweek Law

DCWP enforces NYC’s Fair Workweek Law. The law covers workers regardless of immigration status. Employers cannot punish, penalize, retaliate, or take any action against employees that might stop or deter them from exercising their rights under the law.

DCWP will be updating materials to reflect expanded protections for fast food workers, which took effect on July 4, 2021.

Under the Fair Workweek Law, fast food employers in NYC:

  • Must give workers regular schedules that stay the same week-to-week
  • Must give workers work schedules 14 days in advance of the start of the schedule
  • Must pay premiums for schedule changes or clopenings
  • Must give workers a chance to say no to extra work or to clopenings
  • Must give current workers the opportunity to work more regular hours before hiring new employees
  • Cannot fire or reduce the hours of a worker by more than 15% without just cause or a legitimate business reason
  • Must reinstate laid off employees by seniority when hours become available

NEW! DCWP enforces NYC’s Fair Workweek Law, which protects fast food workers. DCWP created an overview for employers and employees. It includes important new rights. 

Read more HERE.

nyt-brooklyn chipotle

Chipotle Is Sued by New York City Over Scheduling Practices

New York City on Wednesday sued the fast-food giant Chipotle Mexican Grill over what it says are hundreds of thousands of violations of a fair scheduling law at several dozen stores.

Workers are owed over $150 million in relief for the violations, according to the complaint, and financial penalties could far exceed that amount, making it the largest action the city has brought under the law.

The suit cites violations of the so-called Fair Workweek Law that include changing employees’ schedules without sufficient notice or extra pay; requiring employees to work consecutive shifts without sufficient time off or extra pay; and failure to offer workers additional shifts before hiring new employees to fill them.

The allegations cover the period from November 2017, when the law took effect, to September 2019, when the city filed an initial suit involving a handful of Chipotle stores. The new complaint, filed by the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, said that Chipotle had made some attempt to comply with the law since 2019, but that violations were continuing.

Continue reading this article at The New York Times.