California State Data Show FAST Recovery Act Unfairly Targets Fast-Food Restaurants

California fast-food restaurants experience fewer wage claims compared to other industries
  • Publication Date: August 2022

Washington, D.C. – (August 2, 2022) Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a groundbreaking new study analyzing nearly a decade of California Department of Industrial Relations data on alleged labor law violations. The dataset encompasses wage claims filed with the DIR, and more than 7,600 lawsuit outcomes under the state’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

These data show conclusively that fast food restaurants have far fewer wage claims as compared to other industries, undermining advocates’ case for the so-called FAST Recovery Act–an unprecedented proposal to create a new regulatory body for the fast food industry.



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.

“The rhetoric supporting the FAST Recovery Act is undermined by real-world data from the state,” said Michael Saltsman, managing director of the Employment Policies Institute. “Legislators should use this data, rather than unscientific labor surveys, to evaluate this unprecedented and unjustified takeover of the fast food restaurant industry.”