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September 2022: FAST Recovery Act Signed by California Governor 

14 Sep


Update Applicable to: 
All employers of fast-food restaurants with 100 or more establishments nationwide in California.

What happened?
On September 5, 2022, Governor Newsom passed Assembly Bill 257 (AB 257), titled the “Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act,” or the “FAST Recovery Act.” 

What are the details? 
Effective January 1, 2023, 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.

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 or public 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 knew of any of the employee’s actions above.

Other amendments to the bill include provisions preventing the Fast Food Sector Council from requiring new paid leave benefits for workers or regulating how fast food restaurant operators schedule workers’ hours. Under the new version of the bill, the minimum wage could increase to $22 per hour in 2023 and would be subject to inflationary increases in the future.

For more information, please see the links below:

Assembly Bill 257 (AB 257)

Article 1 – Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and prepare to make changes to their payroll and benefits policies to ensure they comply with the law by January 1, 2023.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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