It seems a bit ironic that it will officially take effect on Independence Day, but New York City’s new ‘just cause termination law’ will require a fast-food employer to prove a valid or just cause reason before terminating an at-will employee effective July 4, 2021. The law provides that once an employee has survived a probation period, the employer must justify any future termination decision affecting that employee and prove that decision to be a just one. Further, it mandates that in order for a termination to be considered ‘just’, the fast-food employer must first have a written policy on progressive discipline in effect; a copy of that policy has been provided to the employee; and that such progressive discipline had been utilized relating that employee within one year before the termination! If that were not enough, the law also mandates arbitration procedures that will take effect on January 1, 2022 for those instances where a fast-food employee alleges the employer violated the new law with a wrongful discharge. A separate ordinance, also effective on July 4, 2021. provides that fast-food employer may terminate an employee for a “bona fide economic reason” however that employer bears the burden of proof and must subsequently follow specific seniority formulas for the dismissal and offer reinstatement before new employees can be hired within 12-month of the “bona fide economic reason”! There are two court cases pending where the Restaurant Law Center and the New York State Restaurant Association have challenged the legality of the laws, but the laws are set to take effect.