Will Just Cause Job Termination Apply to All Businesses in New York City?

The Proposed “Just Cause” Law How does just cause job termination apply in NYC? NYC has a law that prohibits fast food companies from reducing an employee’s hours by 15%, and from laying off or firing workers without “just cause or a legitimate economic reason.” Making just cause job termination apply to all NYC jobs is the aim of Queens City Councilwoman, Tiffany Cabán. She would expand it to apply regardless of the company’s size or its pay system. What provisions would the just cause job termination law include? Other provisions in the law would include:  Using workers the company had fired for economic reasons to fill every new or open position and filling them with workers based on employee’s seniority  A 15 day interim between initial warning or discipline and termination for cause with the exception of when an employee egregiously failed to do their job duties  Mandates for generous severance pay  Prohibition against gathering worker data through electronic monitoring used in firing, disciplining or promoting employees  Requiring ample notification to employees of electronic monitoring Allowing third-party nonprofits to sue over violations (Reference: New York Post) What is at-will employment? At-will employment, which includes at-will firing, enables employers to fire employees without good cause. All states have at-will employment except for Montana. Montana protects employees who have completed a probationary period from being fired without cause. However, even in states with at-will employment, some employers have policies that require good cause to fire an employee. The employer may even list reasons necessary to fire workers in their policies. Furthermore, employers can establish their policy through their employment contracts....

Quiet Quitting and Its Influence in the Workplace

What You As an Employer Should Know About Quiet Quitting As a business owner, have you heard about quiet quitting? Do you know the legal parameters involved and what your rights are? What is quiet quitting? It refers to employees doing only the required work based on their job description. Going above and beyond the job in an effort to earn a promotion or raise is not a consideration. Instead, workers set boundaries and provide only what the employer has asked for, no more and no less. What are an employee’s rights to talk about work and compensation? Employees have the right to discuss terms of their job and compensation with other workers. An article in JD Supra points out that National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees’ rights to do so, whether the company is unionized or not. Under NLRA Section 7, employees have the right to exercise “concerted activities,” which enable them to discuss their employment terms and conditions with other employees. For this reason, reprimanding or firing an employee for discussing or promoting “quiet quitting” would be illegal. However, there is an exception, which is if the employee’s speech about it becomes “disruptive” or “abusive.” Even so, proving this exception is not an easy task based on recent NLRA case rulings. As an employer, what can you do about this situation? If this practice runs rampant in your workplace, it is wise to investigate and discover if there are valid grievances. Are you overworking employees? Do they feel undervalued? A survey to determine employee satisfaction may reveal the reasons underlying the surge in quiet quitting. Possible...

Employment Regulations for New York City Restaurant Owners

Learning from Chipotle’s EEOC Lawsuit Employment regulations for restaurants have become more stringent in recent years. Alleged labor law violations led to a lawsuit for Chipotle Mexican Grill that resulted in a $20 million settlement with its employees. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported regarding the areas that were in violation. As a result of the lawsuit, Chipotle indicated it has added management resources, new and improved time-keeping technology to comply with predictable scheduling requirements and to provide access to work hours. Details of the lawsuit The areas addressed in the lawsuit included: Schedule and overtime violations. Chipotle failed to give employees advance notice of their work schedules. It also required extra work time without advance consent. It failed to offer available shifts to current employees before hiring new workers. Sick leave violations. Under NYC law, large employers must provide 56 hours of paid leave each year. However, Chipotle capped workers at 24 hours of paid sick time. They also did not allow workers to use their accrued sick leave. On call employees. Companies must post employee’s work schedules 14 days in advance. They must provide predictability pay when employers make last-minute schedule changes. Chipotle failed to do this. The settlement addressed scheduling and sick leave violations from November 2017 through late April 2022. The settlement provides hourly employees of NYC Chipotle $50 for each work during that time. As a restaurant owner, do you need legal assistance to deal with employment regulations? If you’re a restaurant owner and have questions or concerns about employment claims occurring in your restaurant, you should consult with an experienced employment...

Salary Transparency Law Goes into Effect in New York City

Employers Take Note of Salary Postings New York City’s salary transparency law has gone into effect. Employers with four employees or more must now post salary ranges in their job postings. Other states with similar laws include Colorado, California and Washington. What is the purpose of the salary transparency change? The purpose is to create greater pay equity. It is less likely that employers would offer lower salaries to women and minority groups when salaries across the board are transparent. This is meaningful for racial groups that have been underrepresented and also for women. Are there downsides? According to Reuters, NYC business groups showed concern that this practice might make it harder for small businesses to attract employees. Larger companies with more resources can outbid them. In addition, existing employees will be able to see the value placed on different jobs. This would encourage workers to focus on applying for higher paying jobs. Negotiating for higher pay might become easier, but the focus could also detract from creating a diverse team effort among employees in all positions. What are the upsides? Forbes magazine is onboard with the change. In fact, it suggests that businesses regardless of location should start disclosing salary ranges on job postings. It goes even further by saying there are three ways employers can promote pay equity: Share employee salary ranges Conduct pay audits frequently Foster salary sharing among employees In addition, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also encourages employers to openly discuss and negotiate salaries. Furthermore, 58% of U.S. companies already conduct pay equity reviews. Their pay audits are to promote pay equity....

Employment Liability for Restaurant Owners

How Restaurant Owners Can Protect Against Liability Employment liability for restaurant owners is greater than in any other industry. Evidence of this fact lies in the number of claims filed by or through the EEOC. It is vital that you take steps to minimize liability and protect your interests. Tips for reducing employment liability for restaurant owners Complaints range from sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination to wage and hour and other issues. QSR recommends a number of practices to protect against claims. Create policies and procedures Restaurant owners should issue employee handbooks that lay out policies for employee treatment. Every year, owners should review their policies to ensure they are up-to-date with new laws or regulatory changes. The policies must explain the employees’ rights and their recourse if they have complaints. The handbook should outline: Reporting protocols How to lodge a complaint How to report inappropriate behavior and rules for doing so Investigation procedures Who performs investigations How investigations are done When investigations have completed Open the doors to communication Claims mount when communication closes down. You should provide immediate and thoughtful responses to complaints. This will reduce the likelihood of a claim being filed. Take action to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Put everything in writing Document complaints and requests in written form. In the event of a claim, having documentation is crucial. Keep all written correspondence in a separate investigation file. Even verbal communications should be summarized and you should send the email summaries to employees. Investigations require a written conclusion, even when the allegations did not have merit. Train employees Employees must receive...