New York City Just Changed Fast-Food Employment Forever

With more than half of New York restaurants hanging on a thread and depending on federal dollars to stay afloat, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on January 5 signed new legislation that effectively ends at-will employment for fast-food restaurants in New York City. The move, which goes into effect on July 4, 2021, prevents employers from discharging employees or reducing their hours past a certain threshold unless the employer has “just cause,” which is described as unsatisfactorily performing their duty, among other things.  

The effort makes New York City the first jurisdiction in the country to pass job protections for employees within a particular industry, according to Ogletree Deakins, a labor and employment law firm.

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7 thoughts on “New York City Just Changed Fast-Food Employment Forever

  1. This is definitely a legislation written by someone who has never worked a real job with coworkers who aren’t team workers. (Remember there’s no I in team). Granted I like the idea of eliminating the instant firing with no reason thinking, but proper management would have been doing corrective action techniques before gets to the need to fire now. What this legislation is doing is giving non-union jobs the protection cause (mainly seniority over efficiency) that unions gave their workers.which makes and encourages new workers to not even try to impress because they know they will be terminated or cut in hours first. All of this could’ve been avoided if people knew how to supervise, train, and followup on mistakes, rather than expect workers to walk in fully trained ready to work in their work environment.
    Also, with this law, DeBlaiso just upgraded fast food restaurant jobs, to permanent full time jobs for low skilled workers to the disadvantage of the employers of these places. I highly doubt many fast food workers are going to make more than the current $15/hour wage because of this, which just show how much DeBlasio really cares about the poor in NYC.

  2. Suzanne you state “While an obvious win for employees”. This is not obvious at all. In fact I would argue that it is bad news for employees. Lots of studies have shown that operating in this sort of environment makes employers very hesitant to hire in the first place because they have a harder time reducing their workforce if the number of employees is no longer needed. Reducing the number of people that get a chance to be hired in the first place is not good for employees.

    I’d also like to echo the sentiments of the previous commenter. This sort of thing means that the best employees don’t get ahead simply for being the best, reducing their incentives to work hard and be the best.

  3. Unfortunately most of those who write and pass laws have no clue about a real work place. The worls is a lot different than what they see from their offices 🙁

  4. This is a “lose lose” for employers and employees. It will exacerbate the move to technology to replace people and will make it harder for young people to get work in their most obvious place. Employers will be much more selective about hiring. I wonder if fast food places will even reduce their hours so they don’t need as many people. It will also reduce the value of franchise operations. Who would want to buy a franchise in New York City? Finally, another example of the “law of unintended consequences.” They pass legislation without really understanding the impact.

  5. While I think the creators of this law do have the best interests of fast food workers in mind (and I agree that this segment of the workforce is treated horribly by many managers and looked down upon unjustly by the public), this is only going to further the replacement of fast food workers with technology.

    All the fast food restaurants near me use kiosks (or did until the pandemic, though I anticipate them slowly going back to using them). It’s only a matter of time before it becomes a standard within the industry.

    The replacement of fast food and retail jobs with technology is going to have major repercussions for the labor force and the economy within the next ten years. I’m from a small town where those who work usually work in service jobs. For a variety of reasons, they do not have the skills for better paying jobs. Moving up requires additional education and training. Most cannot afford even a community college course (putting food on the table and gas in the car has to come first). Technology is already leaving them behind and this will worsen it.

  6. I guess I’m in the minority, as supporting such a measure, in an industry notorious for abusing its employees, especially the youngest ones for whom it’s their first job. “Just cause” is not that hard a standard to meet, folks. It’s used to avoid arbitrary and capricious actions. There just has to be some plausible, articulatable, reason for the action at issue.

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