Recent Laws & Regulations Affecting Restaurant Owners

Before ending the summer session and taking summer vacations, the NY legislature passed major bills that affect restaurant owners and other employers in the food industry.

Brunch Bill

The Brunch Bill or SO8140, which loosened restrictions for selling alcohol on Sundays passed the legislature and awaits the governor’s signature. The NY State Restaurant Association (NYRSA) lobbied diligently to pass this bill. The bill enables restaurant owners to begin serving alcohol on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and also gives them the option to serve alcohol 12 times a year on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. for a $35 fee.

Minimum Wage Hikes

Changes were made in the proposed bill that raised minimum wages to $15/hour. The cash wage for tipped food service workers was locked in to two-thirds of the state minimum and the rate increase in upstate counties was extended more slowly.

Minimum Wage Hikes

Pregnancy Discrimination Regulations

Last May, the Mayor of NYC Bill de Blasio and the NYC Human Rights Commission released the NYC Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Pregnancy. It outlined regulations and clarified pregnancy discrimination violations. It included examples for restaurant and bar owners to follow in regards to exercising their rights to refuse to serve alcohol to pregnant women.

Restaurants cannot refuse to serve raw fish or alcohol because a woman is pregnant and they believe she should not be drinking or eating such foods. Another example for pregnancy discrimination was that a bouncer at a bar couldn’t refuse to admit a pregnant woman based on a belief that pregnant women should not go to bars or drink alcohol.

Get Legal Guidance for Your Business

Stephen Hans & Associates can help you create employee handbooks or put policies in place that protect your rights as employers and help you avoid litigation.


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