Restaurant Law Center et al. v. City of New York et al. (District Court-SDNY)

Case Movement

Case Details

  • Case Status: Decided
  • Docket Number: 1:21-cv-04801
  • Category: Regulatory Overreach


Under new “Just Cause” laws set to take effect on July 5, 2021, New York City has eliminated at-will employment—a standard in place for over one-hundred years—for fast-food chains and only those employers. Thus, for only a small subset of a single industry, covered employers will be prohibited from discharging or reducing at least 15 percent of an employee’s hours except for “just cause” or a “bona fide economic reason.”  This targeted subset of employers will be required to first provide “progressive discipline,” imposed only after an investigation process that can be second-guessed in court, at an administrative proceeding, or by an arbitrator into the employee’s misconduct, all subject to stringent record-keeping requirements. 

May 28, 2021

The Restaurant Law Center and New York State Restaurant Association filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.

July 20, 2021

The Restaurant Law Center and New York State Restaurant Association filed a a Motion for Summary Judgement.

August 24, 2021

The Restaurant Law Center filed a Consolidated Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgement and Response in Opposition to NYC’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgement.

February 8, 2022

The Restaurant Law Center filed a response to two amicus briefs — one from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and one from a group of Labor Law Professors — opposing its summary judgment motion. In summary, the Law Center points out that the briefs consist almost entirely of policy arguments about the desirability of the Just Cause Laws—including, for example, NELP’s beliefs about the racial identity of the laws’ beneficiaries—but that these arguments are irrelevant to the legal challenges being raised. Thus, the briefs can be largely disregarded.

February 11, 2022

The court issued a decision and order for this case.

March 8, 2022

The Restaurant Law Center filed a Notice of Appeal.