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Volume XIII, Number 158


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FAST Recovery Act Signed by California’s Governor

On September 5, 2022, California passed Assembly Bill (AB) 257, titled the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, or the “FAST Recovery Act.” AB 257 establishes a Fast Food Council comprised of fast food employees, worker advocates, franchisors, franchisees, and government officials within the Department of Industrial Relations that would set industry-wide standards for wages, working hours, and other working conditions related to the health, and safety of fast food workers. The bill applies to fast food restaurants with 100 or more establishments nationwide.

AB 257, also prohibits fast food employers from discharging or discriminating, or retaliating against an employee for any of the following reasons:

  • The employee made a complaint or disclosed information,or the employer believes the employee disclosed, or may disclose, information to the franchisor, to a person with authority over the employee, or to another employee who has the authority at the fast food restaurant to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, to the media, to the Legislature, or a watchdog or community-based organization, or a governmental agency regarding employee or public health or safety.

  • The employee instituted, caused to be instituted, testified in, or otherwise participated in a proceeding relating to employee or public health or safety, or any council or Local Fast Food Council proceeding.

  • The employee refused to perform work in a fast food restaurant because the employee had reasonable cause to believe that the practices or premises of that fast food restaurant would violate worker orpublic health and safety laws, regulations, any occupational safety and health standard, or any safety order of the division or standards board, or would pose a substantial risk to the health or safety of the employee, other employees, or the public.

Under the law, there is a rebuttable presumption of unlawful discrimination or retaliation if a fast food restaurant operator discharges or takes any other adverse action against an employee within 90 days following the date when the operator had knowledge of any of the employee’s actions above.

Before the end of the California legislative session, AB 257 was amended to remove a proposal to impose liability on franchisors for employment violations by franchisees.

Service Employee International Union president Mary Kay Henry was reported by Bloomberg News to have said, “the bill effectively offers another form of collective bargaining for fast food workers” and referred to the legislation as a “watershed moment.”  The International Franchise Association and other industry groups urged Governor Newsom to veto the legislation to no avail and are urging other states to steer clear of similar initiatives.

AB 257 takes effect on January 1, 2023.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2023National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 249

About this Author

Laura Pierson-Scheinberg Employment Lawyer Jackson Lewis

Laura A. Pierson-Scheinberg is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, and Baltimore, Maryland, offices of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Pierson-Scheinberg represents employers in labor and employment matters, with a particular focus on traditional labor issues, union elections and unfair labor practice charges. She has extensive experience in collective bargaining, from serving as chief spokesperson to developing strategy behind the scenes. Her background includes bargaining for both large and small clients from a local to a national level in a wide range of...

Benjamin A. Tulis, Employment, Benefits, Litigation Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Benjamin Tulis is an Associate in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on employment litigation, benefits litigation, transactions, and advice and counsel within the labor and employment law sector.

Mr. Tulis represents employers and individual defendants in a wide range of employment and labor matters, including wrongful termination, matters arising under ERISA, administrative matters, wage and hour class actions, and matters involving competition and restrictive covenants.