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NYC Bill Would Outlaw Unfair Terminations in the Fast Food Industry


Added 03-14-19 11:21:01am EST - “The proposal comes as restaurants struggle with the city's new $15 minimum wage.” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “NYC Bill Would Outlaw Unfair Terminations in the Fast Food Industry”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

In recent years, the Big Apple's fast food industry has trailblazed for employee protections and higher wages, particularly as the driving force behind the "Fight for 15." It's a battle they won with the passage of New York's $15 minimum wage law. Now they're setting their sights on eliminating unfair firings.

"Workers have told me they've been fired for no reason at all," Democratic City Councilman Brad Lander, who introduced a bill to ban the practice in the fast food industry, told The Guardian. "Should employers have the right to fire people for any reason, including the most trivial reasons? Most people would say that's not a right people should have."

Proponents say that, in dismissing employees, fast-casual restauranteurs should need to show "just cause"—that is, proof of serious misconduct. But what compromises that misconduct is somewhat ambiguous. Under Lander's legislation, workers will be able to appeal firings via arbitration, a complaint to the Department of Consumer Affairs, or with a lawsuit.

Ironically, some of those terminations are likely the result of the movement's last legislative victory, with restaurants purging jobs in the wake of the city's minimum wage hike. Fifty-three percent of New York's "limited service" establishments—otherwise known as fast-casual spots—plan to eliminate positions this year in response to the wage increase, according to a survey by the New York Hospitality Alliance. That comes after 50 percent did so in 2018.

"There's a misperception about the profitability of restaurants in general," Chris Westcott, CEO of Rosa Mexicano, tells Eater NY. "Everyone thinks we're rolling in it. And it's tight. There's a limit to what we can spend."

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