NYC Council Enacts Legislation to Provide “Just Cause” Termination Protection to Fast Food Employees

Recent legislation, enacted by the New York City Council, provides what appear to be substantial protections to fast food workers by, e.g., requiring that termination of their employment be for “just cause.”

The legislation amends Chapter 12 of Title 20 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York by adding a new subchapter 7, titled “wrongful discharge of fast food employees.” This legislation constitutes what could be the beginning of erosion of New York’s long-entrenched “at will employment” rule.

The statute provides, inter alia, that “[a] fast food employer shall not discharge a fast food employee who has completed such employer’s probation period except for just cause,” where “just cause” “means the fast food employee’s failure to satisfactorily perform job duties or misconduct that is demonstrably and materially harmful to the fast food employer’s legitimate business interests.”

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