Fast food workers in New York City have just gained significant protections against layoffs. Two bills were signed into law this past Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio adding measures to shield workers from terminations without just cause or a significant economic reason. These additional restrictions for layoffs will provide much needed job stability for fast food workers that have been facing widespread challenges in the restaurant industry during the pandemic.
The first bill discusses fast food chains new requirement to present “just cause” when terminating or reducing a fast food workers hours by more than 15%. “Just cause” has been defined as failing to perform job duties in a satisfactory manner or having engaged in misconduct harmful to the business’ interests. When a termination is presented to the worker it can only come after that employee has gone through a progressive discipline policy. The second bill states that legitimate firings can also occur if an employer can provide a “bona fide economic reason”. If economic reasons are cited at time of layoffs, the terminations must occur in reverse order of seniority. Longstanding employees must also be hired back first before any new employees are given jobs for an entire year after the layoffs have occurred. This new legislation will only affect fast food chains with 30 or more locations.
Unfortunately, fast food workers have been accustomed to arbitrary terminations for far too long.This new law is a step in the right direction, providing nearly 70,000 essential workers in the industry much needed job stability as they continue to work in front lines during the pandemic. If you have any questions regarding this new law or would like a free phone consultation regarding your employment issues, do not hesitate to give our employment law firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, a call at (212)300-0375. We offer free phone consultations and can quickly let you know if we can assist you. You can also learn more about our firm here.