July 9, 2021

New Just Cause Laws Now In Effect For NYC Fast-Food Restaurant Employers

What Restaurant Employers Should Know About NYC's New Just Cause Laws

Two major bills which impact New York City fast-food employers and their employees just went into effect this past week.


What are the "Just Cause" laws?

Here are the new requirements that fast-food employers must now abide by.

  • They may not terminate, constructively discharge, reduce hours by more than 15%, or indefinitely suspend employees who have completed their probationary period, without just cause.
  • They must engage in progressive discipline before terminating an employee’s employment (exceptions apply to situations of serious misconduct).
  • If employers lay off employees due to bona fide economic reasons, they must do so in order of seniority.
  • Employers must provide newly hired employees with a good faith estimate of their workdays and hours, on or before their first day of work.

What steps can employers take now?

These laws require NYC fast-food restaurant employers to grant their employees with a set of rights and protections that are typically seen by employees covered by a union.

Here are steps that NYC fast-food restaurant employers can take action to protect their businesses.

  • Create and provide employees with a written discipline policy to reference prior to “just cause” terminations.
  • Train all employees and managers on these policies and subsequent procedures.
  • Employers will have to provide a written explanation to terminated employees outlining specific reasons for discharge within 5 days of the termination. Adopting a record-keeping system to note reasons for discharge will be helpful.
  • Organize scheduling systems as best as possible to provide employees with a written and predictable schedule of weekly shifts.

More resources:

NYC Gov Press Release

PN Legal Blog

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