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Monday, February 24, 2020

Mayor de Blasio's Fair Workweek Law Stands Up in Court

NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection Photo

NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and Corporation Counsel James E. Johnson announced on Tuesday February 18, that the New York State Supreme Court has upheld New York City's Fair Workweek Law and ruled that the law is not pre-empted by New York State wage and hour laws. The International Franchise Association, Restaurant Law Center, and the New York State Restaurant Association challenged the City's law as it applies to fast food workers, claiming it conflicted with, and was broadly preempted by state labor law. In rejecting the claims, and upholding the law, the Court acknowledged that New York City's purpose in passing the law was to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation by unpredictable scheduling.

Mayor Bill de Blasio Twitter Photo 

"In New York City, knowing when you're working and planning accordingly is a right," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We fought hard to get workers the peace of mind they deserve and will continue fighting for workers every time anyone tries to take it away."

NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection Photo

"Today is a major win for workers across New York City. We are ecstatic with the court's decision on our Fair Workweek Law, which is intended to give fast-food and retail workers in New York City greater control over their lives and the chance to work full time jobs," said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. "We are committed to protecting New Yorkers and urge any fast food worker experiencing workplace violations to file a complaint with our office."

NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection Photo

Corporation Counsel James E. Johnson said, "All of us want the ability to determine the course of our lives and plan for our families. Employers who fail to provide an advance schedule to an employee or impose last minute changes to a worker's schedule can, and often do, bring chaos to the lives of hardworking employees, many of whom are balancing other priorities like school or caring for a sick relative. Consistent and predictable schedules make life better for all of us and we are pleased the court has upheld this critically important city law."

Under the Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect on November 26, 2017, fast food employers in New York City must give workers good faith estimates of when and how much they will work, predictable work schedules, premium pay for schedule changes, and the opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers. Fast food employers also cannot schedule workers to work a "clopening" unless workers consent in writing and are paid a $100 premium to work the shift. Under the Law, retail employers must also give workers advance notice of work schedules and may not schedule workers for on-call shifts or change workers' schedules with inadequate notice. The required You Have a Right to a Predictable Work Schedule must be posted in any language that is the primary language of at least five percent of the workers at the workplace and is available on DCWP's website.

NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection Photo

Since the law went into effect, DCWP has received more than 300 complaints about Fair Workweek, closed more than 130 investigations, and obtained resolutions requiring more than $1,500,000 combined fines and restitution for more than 3,000 workers.

"The Fair Workweek is all about protecting workers and their rights. It allows fast-food employees to improve their lives and have control of their schedules. For far too long, fast-food hourly workers faced unfair work schedules, like, for example, closing down a store and then opening it the following morning. I am proud of the work the City Council did to require fast food employers, among other measures, to provide workers with a two-week's notice of their schedule. Today's ruling strengthens the protections that allow hourly workers to plan for family responsibilities and complete their work schedules without last-minute surprises," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection Photo

"32BJ SEIU supported us, fast food workers, in our fight to win the groundbreaking Fair Workweek law," Brianna Augustin, who works at Chipotle, said. "I am very appreciative, as a new mother, that the law says I should get my schedule two weeks in advance. This law is a way for me to stabilize my schedule, for me to get more hours at work and it creates a path to full time hours for me."

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