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NYC: Bill to Revoke Restaurant Licenses of Wage Law Violators Introduced
Nathan Newman on May 10, 2007 - 8:52am
If a restaurant employer is willing to break the law by violating the minimum wage or other laws, can you trust them not to endanger customer health as well? In fact, a study by the Restaurant Opportunities Center in New York (ROC-NY), Dining Out, Dining Healthy, unsurprisingly found that employers violating labor laws were also more likely to cut corners in ways that harmed the health of customers, from serving spoiled food to handling food improperly.
Responding to these concerns, New York City Council Members Eric Gioia and Rosie Mendez yesterday introduced a bill to require the City to review employment law violations when considering whether to renew a restaurant operating license. The bill will require:
- Full disclosure by restaurants of any cases where they have been found to have violated minimum wage, overtime, discrimination or other employment laws.
- Allowing members of the public to request public hearings on whether a restaurant is fit to renew its license.
- Giving the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene the authority to suspend or revoke the license of businesses that have failed to abide by the law.
The restaurant industry employs 165,000 people in New York City, one of the city's largest employers, yet the industry has some of the lowest wages and most pervasive violations of wage and discrimination laws in the city-- a common problem in the industry across the country.
The goal of the new bill, which is supported by ROC-NY and the Brennan Center Strategic Fund, is to begin to change this reality by making the City take employment violations as seriously as other violations in deciding whether to renew restaurant licenses.