For Immediate Release:
Monday, November 23, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Announces Fair Workweek Settlements Totaling Nearly $300K For Fast Food Workers
The Department Settles with Four Franchisees Operating Burger King, McDonald’s and Papa John’s Restaurants Requiring Compliance with Workplace Laws at More Than 60 Locations Citywide
NEW YORK, NY
– NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced settlement agreements with four fast food franchisees to resolve violations of the NYC Fair Workweek Law on behalf of their workers. The settlements require the companies to pay a total of $293,928 in restitution to 152 workers, $67,712 in civil penalties, and to comply with the Law at more than 60 NYC fast food restaurants going forward.
“Fair Workweek was created to protect fast food and retail employees from both income and scheduling instability—which is needed now more than ever. We are pleased to put money in the pockets of fast food workers during these difficult times and we will ensure their employers comply moving forward,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We thank the workers for bravely coming forward to report violations that affect hundreds of working people.”
DCWP’s investigations revealed that that these fast food franchisees violated the law by failing to provide schedules to employees two weeks in advance, failing to get written consent from employees when adding time to their schedules, failing to pay employees the required premiums when schedules were changed, failing to offer available shifts to current employees before hiring new employees and failing to provide updated written good faith estimates. In addition to Fair Workweek violations, DCWP found safe and sick leave violations at some of the restaurants, including failure to allow use of sick leave and non-compliant safe and sick leave policies.
The settlements require the franchisees to pay:
- Burger King (130 West 125th Street, Manhattan)
- $90,000 in restitution to 50 workers and $10,240 in civil penalties.
- Burger King (1727 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn)
- $62,900.00 in restitution to 44 workers and $23,000 in civil penalties.
- McDonald’s (3809 Broadway, Manhattan)
- $40,000 in restitution to one worker and $17,500 in civil penalties.
- Papa John’s (601 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn and 529 Stanley Avenue, Brooklyn)
- $101,028 in restitution to 57 workers and $16,972 in civil penalties.
In addition to restitution and fines, the settlements require the franchisees to comply with the Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave laws going forward, including adopting internal compliance policies and procedures, training managers and supervisors, displaying educational posters about the Law, conducting regular self-audits, and appointing internal compliance officers who monitor and report on compliance. The four franchisees responsible for these violations each operate additional locations. They are required to adopt these compliance measures at all locations, more than 60 restaurants across New York City.
Under the Fair Workweek Law, fast food employers in New York City must give workers regular, predictable work schedules, two weeks’ advance notice of their work schedules, premium pay of between $10-$75 for schedule changes, and the opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers. Fast food employers also cannot schedule workers for a morning shift the day after a night shift unless workers consent in writing and are paid a $100 premium to work the shift. Similarly, fast food employers must obtain workers’ written consent before adding any time to their work schedules with less than two weeks’ notice and may not penalize them for declining to work. Under the Law, retail employers must also give workers advanced notice of work schedules and may not schedule workers for on-call shifts or change workers’ schedules with inadequate notice.
Fast food employers are required to post a DCWP’s notice of rights
, which is available in 14 languages. The notice must be posted in English and the primary language of at least five percent of the workers in the workplace.
Since the law went into effect three years ago this week, DCWP has received more than 360 complaints about Fair Workweek, closed 160 investigations, and obtained resolutions requiring more than $2,084,000 in combined fines and restitution for 3,570 workers.
DCWP’s cases were handled by Investigator Charles Forrest, Supervising Investigators Juana Abreu, Christina Hwang and Peter Donna, Agency Attorney Emily Hoffman, and Senior Enforcement Counsel Ksenya Hentisz, under the supervision of Director of Investigations Elizabeth Wagoner and Litigation Director Claudia Henriquez of DCWP’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards, which is led by Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Holt.
Employers and employees can visit nyc.gov/workers
or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information, including required notices, overviews of the laws or to file a complaint. DCWP also has a summary of City labor laws for employers and employees during the pandemic (Update about Workplace Laws During COVID-19
), which provides an overview of local, state and federal sick leave laws.
The NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law was recently amended to expand worker protections that will go into effect in two phases. The first phase of amendments went into effect on September 30 and requires employers to provide domestic workers with 40 hours of paid safe and sick leave; allow employees to use safe and sick leave as it is accrued; reimburse employees who must pay for required documentation after three consecutive workdays of leave; and list on employees’ paystubs (or any document issued each pay period) the amounts of accrued and used leave and the total balance of accrued leave. Employers that could not operationalize the paystub documentation requirement by September 30 but are working in good faith on implementation will have up to November 30, 2020 to ensure compliance without a penalty. Starting January 1, 2021, employers with 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid leave
and employers with four or fewer employees and a net income of $1 million or more must provide PAID leave
. For more information about the amendments, including the new Notice of Employee Rights
, visit nyc.gov/workers
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 59,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Abigail Lootens | Melissa Barosy
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection