Restaurant Law Center et al. v. City of New York et al.

Case Movement

Case Details

  • Case Status: Pending
  • Docket Number: 22-491
  • Category: Regulatory Overreach


On June 22, 2022, the Restaurant Law Center and the New York State Restaurant Association filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit urging it to reverse a lower court’s ruling upholding the city’s “just cause” laws. We are arguing that the city’s just cause laws are preempted by the National Labor Relations Act and, thus, the lower court erred when it found that the laws are comparable to minimum labor standards, such as the minimum wage.

June 29, 2022

The US Chamber of Commerce, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, the Retail Litigation Center, and the Business Counsel of New York State filed a brief in support of Appellants (RLC and NYSRA). They argue that by imposing certain detailed terms of a collective bargaining arrangement on one particular subset of employers, the city’s just cause laws violate fundamental principles of labor law and the US Constitution by erecting discriminatory barriers against interstate trade for a targeted subset of employers.

September 21, 2022

Brief was filed by Appellees.

January 5, 2024

A panel of the Second Circuit affirmed the district court decision and upheld the Just Cause laws as “neither preempted nor unconstitutional.” The decision found that under federal case precedent, preemption only applies to direct regulations of the “process of collective bargaining,” not substantive “minimum protections to individual workers.” The panel decision also held that the dormant commerce clause does not bar the just cause laws because the laws do not confer “a competitive advantage upon local businesses at the expense of out-of-state competitors.”