It’s time to end arbitrary dismissal of fast food chains and elsewhere


You are fired.Nearly half of American workers said they lost their jobs A bad reason Or there is no reason at all: they may have Complaining about the parental leave policy, Volunteer in an unpopular charity Or simply wear Wrong hairstyle.

All these dismissals are basically legal.Unlike most Advanced economies, Most American employment is “at random.” The boss does not need to warn before dismissal.The company took full advantage of this flexibility: in the first 10 weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 40 million peopleNearly a quarter of the American workforce has been laid off.

Now New York City is trying to change this unstable situation. Starting this week, fast food companies that have at least 30 stores across the country must prove that they have “Good reason“, defined as objective operational or behavior-related reasons, used for layoffs.

“This is basic fairness,” Bradland said. City Councillor Behind the laws of New York. “Don’t you want your children to know what their duties are and have the opportunity to get some feedback instead of being fired for no reason?”

This is no mustard for fast food groups.Industry-Sponsored Restaurant Law Center Sued Block the law. Executive Director Angelo Amador believes that these rules conflict with federal standards in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. “If you want to preemptively, why make a federal law?” he asked. “This will establish a piecemeal law.”

Business groups argue that the flexibility of the American system gives companies the confidence to increase employees faster. They said that in the long run, it has promoted faster economic growth compared to Europe or Japan, and it is more difficult for Europe or Japan to lay off or fire poor workers.

Business groups argue that workers who want more protection can join unions.Staff In New Yorker This was done last year.However, many companies’ anti-union efforts have helped reduce union membership from more than 20% in the 1980s to 10.8% last year. Amazon recently repel A high-profile campaign to establish a union for employees in warehouses in Alabama.

At the same time, the conservative U.S. Supreme Court did not try its best to help workers. 2018 ruling Make it harder Get employees to join forces to file a lawsuit on workplace issues and file a lawsuit in court last month knock down A California regulation requires employers to allow union organizers to have access to working farm workers.

But it is wrong for fast food chains to violate New York law. More stable working conditions will attract and retain employees, 2012 research It was found that restrictions on casual employment can promote innovation and the creation of new companies.

Transitioning to just dismissal will also reduce workplace tensions in this industry Harassment and discrimination claims. McDonald’s resists alone Multiple class actions Allegations of sexual harassment and hostile environment.

Employees who are less prone to summary dismissal feel more empowered to summon bad managers. Employers will have better evidence when dismissing employees, thereby reducing the possibility of discrimination lawsuits.

Progressive people will not wait for companies to see the light. Although President Joe Biden’s federal employment legislation has stagnated in the Senate, Democratic-controlled states and cities have been pushing to raise local minimum wages and protect workers.

Illinois is considering a just cause law, and nearly 2 million workers across the country are protected by the “Fair Work Week” law, which requires employers to notify workers of their schedule in advance. April, New York City Sued fast food chain Chipotle The version that claims to violate the law.

Activists hope that these regulations will both help local workers and strengthen the reason for national action. “It provides an opportunity to prove the concept: when the business community puts forward the argument that the sky is falling, it will help if these laws have been implemented,” said Harvard senior researcher Triggstein.

Unless overthrown, New York will start enforcing the Just Cause Act in September. In 2000, the Court of Appeal ruled that the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Due law Does not violate federal law. But the ruling does not apply to the whole country, so the New York case may have different results.

Where the employer is Work hard to fill vacant positions, A smart company will use stable working conditions as a point of differentiation. Amazon started offering a minimum wage of $15, even though the federal standard is only half of it.Now its competitors are Must match It is to attract employees. Fairer dismissal rules are much cheaper to implement. There are classes there.

brooke.masters@ft.com

Follow Master Brook My FT And in Twitter





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