IFA Leads Business Groups’ Lawsuit Against New York City over Predictive Scheduling Law

December 03, 2018


Jenna Weisbord, 310-995-0839

Lawsuit Contends NYC Law Violates State Law

(New York, December 3, 2018) - The International Franchise Association (IFA), along with the National Restaurant Law Center and the New York State Restaurant Association, today filed a court complaint against New York City.

The complaint, filed in New York state court, challenges the legality of the City’s Fair Work Week Law (FWWL), also known as the predictive scheduling law. 

“Over the past year, this so-called ‘Fair Work Week Law’ has resulted in large premium payments, additional administrative costs, and increased difficulty providing fast and flexible customer service for the 1,796 affected New York City restaurants,” said Matt Haller, IFA’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs. “While well-intentioned, this law places unaffordable costs on New York restaurants, which jeopardizes the livelihoods of the very employees it’s designed to protect. IFA hopes that the court will follow legal precedent and common sense to strike down this misguided policy.”

The law requires franchise quick service restaurants to set employee work schedules two weeks in advance. Changes to the schedule inside of this two-week window result in steep fines for the business. This policy makes it prohibitively expensive for businesses to quickly adapt their staffing to fit changes in market demand, unexpected employee absences, or myriad other staffing issues.

Franchises, which are independently owned and operated, are the only types of QSR businesses affected by the law. In effect, the city’s policy creates an uneven playing field for locally-owned small businesses by placing additional regulations on businesses who choose to operate under a national brand name.

The lawsuit challenges whether the FWWL exceeds New York City’s legislative authority. In the State of New York, employee scheduling and compensation requirements are governed by New York state labor law. New York State maintains exclusive authority to enact laws that limit the right of employers to change their employees’ work schedules. As a result, under well-established judicial rulings, the state labor law preempts the city from enacting or enforcing its own more restrictive and punitive scheduling law.

The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the FWWL is void. A copy of the complaint can be found here.

About the International Franchise Association

Celebrating 58 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the more than 733,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 7.6 million direct jobs, $674.3 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy and 2.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology and business development.