Study: FAST Recovery Act Unfairly Targets CA’s Fast-Food Industry

Last week, the Employment Policies Institute released a report analyzing nearly a decade of California Department of Industrial Relations data on alleged labor law violations.

The report’s findings show California’s fast-food restaurant industry accounts for far fewer wage claims than other industries. This directly refutes headlines based on an unscientific survey claiming fast-food restaurants were responsible for higher-than-average wage theft in the Golden State. This survey, conducted by the Service Employees International Union, serves as the flawed underpinning for California’s A.B. 257 bill, dubbed the “FAST Recovery Act,” which would impose an unelected council to set standards for the entire industry, singling out fast-food restaurants without evidence.

Key findings of the new report include:

  • Limited-service restaurants account for only 1.6 percent annually of total average wage claims filed with the state from 2017 through 2022. Using an adjusted data set that includes restaurant locations potentially miscategorized by the state, limited-service restaurants still average only 2.3 percent of all wage claims.
  • Across all years of data analyzed, there was roughly one wage claim per one-thousand private sector employees in limited service–one of the lower per-employee industry rates.
  • The limited-service restaurant industry accounts for just 1.5 percent of total PAGA lawsuits in all industries where awards were granted to employees, and only 1.8 percent of all dollars awarded to employees.

Read the full report here.