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An employer can usually fire any (non-union) employee “at will,” without giving a reason. And while employees are often of the view their termination was unjustified or baseless, there’s usually little they can do about it (unless the decision was discriminatory, retaliatory, or otherwise legally wrongful).

Whatever the basis for losing one’s job might be, abuses seem to abound in the fast-food industry, which “disproportionately employs black and Latino New Yorkers,” according to a recent report that appeared in the New York Daily News.

The report guides that “fast-food workers who lost their jobs with little notice and for no good reason reported facing food insecurity, eviction, loss of childcare or having to quit school.” As a direct result, the New York City Council wants to pass two bills that will “set minimum standards” of termination.

Part of the bill will require that employees must be notified about poor performance before termination, a step which will give a worker an opportunity to correct any perceived deficiencies. However, some employers and industry representatives believe that this requirement will disrupt operations and could allow disgruntled workers to sabotage a business.

Under the City Council’s “just-cause” protection, “employers are asked to use ‘progressive discipline’ -- which means warning employees about performance problems, and giving people a chance to address the issues, before firing them and leaving them with no paycheck,” according to the News. This kind of process is currently in place in Montana and Puerto Rico. (Parking-lot workers also gained a similar protection in Philadelphia.)

"Given the prospect of increased crime and taxes, the specter of yet additional regulations and restrictions will only make New York an unfavorable place to conduct and transact business,” noted Jonathan H. Newman, Managing Partner, at Newman Ferrara LLP. “Businesses will go elsewhere,” he added.

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If you believe you were unfairly treated or wrongfully terminated, please call a member of our Civil Rights Group at 212-619-5400.

To read the full report in The Daily News, click here: https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-just-cause-firing-20200212-4ir2egp7vvhihhfafzzgk65doq-story.html