KFC Counted Its Chickens Before Complying with NY City’s Fair Workweek Scheduling Law and Pays $80,000 in Restitution

On November 19, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) announced a settlement with an operator of 30 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants across the City for violations of the NYC Fair Workweek Scheduling Law. A DCA investigation concluded that the KFC employees were required to sign waivers of premium pay for any last-minute changes in their work schedules. The settlement agreement invalidates the waivers and requires payments to more than 600 employees of $80,000 in restitution for working consecutive shifts that were shorter than 11 hours apart. The settlement further requires that the KFC operator undergo comprehensive monitoring by an independent investigator for 18 months.

The NYC Fair Workweek Scheduling Law took effect in November 2017 and gives fast food workers the right to a more predictable work schedule. Employers are required to give employees advance notice of their work schedules and any changes to work schedules, post and electronically transmit work schedules, update and re-post any changed schedules, and provide historical schedules to employees upon request. Each violation of this section of the law carries a $200 penalty and an order of compliance. The law imposes mandatory penalties on fast food employers that give employees insufficient notice of a schedule change, ranging from $10 to $75, depending on the amount of notice given.

The Law prohibits covered employers from scheduling fast food employees to work two shifts over two consecutive calendar days if the end of the first shift is less than 11 hours before the beginning of the next shift, unless the employee has given written consent to work the second shift and is paid an extra $100 in a lump sum for the second shift. A violation of this section of the law carries a $500 penalty, an order of compliance, in addition to the $100 lump sum payment. The law also imposes job preference and posting requirements that prefer current employees.

The NYC Fair Workweek Scheduling Law also applies to retail workers and regulates on call shifts, cancellation of shifts, notice of work assignments and mandatory employee reporting availability to work. Retailer employers must provide employees with a written work schedule no later than 72 hours before the start of the schedule’s first shift, post work schedules in a conspicuous location at least 72 hours before the first scheduled shift, electronically transmit the schedules to the employees, and directly notify any affected employee of changes in the work schedule. Violations of these sections carry various penalties.

In just its first year of enforcement, the NYC Fair Workweek Scheduling Law has led to settlements benefiting almost 1,200 workers and requiring over $217,000 in restitution payments. Given the active compliance environment, fast food operators in the City must ensure their scheduling practices are updated to meet legal requirements and understand that the City will not enforce employee waivers of this Law. The law can be found here.

For more information regarding on the Fair Workweek Scheduling Law and management’s legal requirements under this Law, please contact one of the Partners in the firm’s Labor Law Practice Group:

You can also call us at 973.533.0777.

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