Employers paid a record penalty for violating the city’s ordinance twice in 2022.
Last month, Ruth’s Chris Steak House was made to pay a combined $45,400 to 50 workers for violating Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek Ordinance. The chain steakhouse paid the largest penalty since the ordinance went into effect in April 2020.
According to Philadelphia’s Department of Labor, Ruth’s Chris Steak House failed to 1) give workers two weeks’ notice of their schedules, 2) provide workers the average number of hours they can expect to work over a typical 90-day period, and 3) offer newly available hours to current employees, rather than hiring new workers.
In addition to the above violations, Philly’s Fair Workweek Ordinance requires employers to:
- Compensate employees with predictability pay for schedule changes
- Provide a 9-hour rest period between certain shifts
- Retain all records that demonstrate compliance for 2 years
- Post this notice in an accessible conspicuous location
Under the ordinance, “covered employers” are retail, hospitality, or food service establishments in Philadelphia that employ 250 or more employees and have 30 or more locations worldwide.
StraightforWARD Legal Advice:
National chains with locations in Philadelphia need to be aware that the steakhouse’s experience is by no means an outlier:
- The record setting penalty is hot on the heels of Del Frisco’s being made to pay $24,500 in August of 2002. Target was made to pay $22,000 in 2021.
- Since Philly’s ordinance went into effect, the city has received over 70 Fair Workweek complaints.
- Within the past 6 months, complaints have been filed against Walmart, Home Depot, and medical marijuana dispensary Curaleaf.
It is not just businesses in Philadelphia who should be aware of Fair Workweek laws. Similar laws are on the books in a number of places including New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and the State of Oregon. NYC’s ordinance, which applies to fast food and retail businesses, recently made headlines after Chipotle Mexican Grill paid a whopping $20 million settlement.