Action Alert: Los Angeles City Council Wants to Assert Control Over Businesses
Action Alert: Los Angeles City Council Wants to Assert Control Over Businesses

The message below has been reposted from the Valley Industry & Commerce Association.

On Wednesday, April 22, the Los Angeles City Council will be considering a Right of Recall ordinance that is exclusively directed towards businesses in the hospitality industry - including hotels, janitorial, stadiums, airport services and event centers.

Hospitality Right of Recall and Worker Retention Ordinance

The Hospitality Recall Ordinance would:

  • Require businesses that have discharged employees to offer those discharged employees all positions which become available for which the employees are qualified.
  • Require businesses to offer positions to an employee with the greatest length of service should more than one employee be qualified for a position.
  • Require businesses to extend these offers of employment in writing, by mail to their last known physical address, and by email and text message.
  • Require a 10-day waiting period after a business has recalled an employee in which the employee would need to accept or decline the offer.
  • Requires businesses that decline to recall employees based on a lack of qualifications and hires a new employee to provide a written notice to the discharged employee, along with reasons for the decision, within 30 days of the new hire.
  • Would extend existing worker retention law to apply to stadiums, janitorial, airport services and event centers in Los Angeles.
  • Be retroactive to January 31, 2020.
  • Allow employees to take legal action against an employer for alleged noncompliance, even for mistaken allegations which are "made in good faith."
  • Be in effect indefinitely, therefore extending these provisions beyond the time frame of the current local emergency and making them permanent fixtures.

Click here to read the Hospitality Recall Ordinance.

Key Talking Points:

  • This ordinance would burden businesses in the hospitality industry who have already faced the brunt of the economic impact of the public health crisis as a result of closures and reduced travel.
  • Allowing an employee to take legal action for an employer's noncompliance, even for mistaken allegations that are deemed to be made in good faith, would also increase the potential legal costs and liabilities for businesses.
  • The requirement under the Hospitality Recall Ordinance for employers to provide a written notice with explanations for why an employee was not recalled within 30 days does not constitute good practice.
  • The lack of a sunset date is not consistent with other COVID-19 related urgency clauses and orders, and would make these emergency measures permanent.
  • Making this measure retroactive to January 31 means that some businesses will have already violated the law and be subject to fines and lawsuits.
  • We urge the Council to oppose the Hospitality Recall Ordinance; and oppose any policy that seeks to preempt a company's own business judgment.

Citywide Right of Recall and Worker Retention Ordinances

While the City Council has decided to target the Hospitality Industry, VICA continues to strongly oppose the City Council's initial Right of Recall and Worker Retention Ordinances, which are still expected to return for consideration by the Council. At the March 27 City Council meeting, VICA fought hard against the ordinances as they would have hampered the actions businesses could take in response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Thanks to VICA's advocacy efforts the ordinances did not move forward. Instead, a report back was requested by the Council on the impacts these policies would have on businesses. The following amendments to the initial Right of Recall Ordinance were also introduced:

  • Exemptions for higher education institutions which operate medical centers, and for restaurants.
  • Removing the 'no waiver of rights' provisions.
  • Giving recalled employees 48 hours to accept an offer of rehire instead of 10 days.
  • Applying the Right of Recall Ordinance only to businesses with more than 50 employees.
  • Applying the Right of Recall Ordinance only to hospitality workers.

Click here to read the initial Right of Recall Ordinance.

Click here to read the initial Worker Retention Ordinance.

Call and email the Los Angeles City Council.

Councilmember Gil Cedillo, CD - gilbert.cedillo@lacity.org; 213-473-7001

Councilmember Paul Krekorian, CD2 -  paul.krekorian@lacity.org; 213-473-7002

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, CD3 - councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org; 213-473-7003 

Councilmember David Ryu, CD 4 - cd4.issues@lacity.org; 213-473-7004

Councilmember Paul Koretz, CD5 - paul.koretz@lacity.org; 213-473-7005

Council President Nury Martinez, CD6 - councilmember.martinez@lacity.org; 213-473-7006

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, CD 7 - councilmember.rodriguez@lacity.org; 213-473-7007

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, CD 8 - councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org ; 213-473-7008

Councilmember Curren Price, Jr., CD 9 - councilmember.price@lacity.org; 213-473-7009

Councilmember Herb Wesson, CD 10 - councilmember.wesson@lacity.org ; 213-473-7010

Councilmember Mike Bonin, CD 11 - councilmember.bonin@lacity.org; 213-473-7011

Councilmember John Lee, CD 12 - councilmember.lee@lacity.org; 213-473-7012

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, CD 13 - councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org; 213-473-7013

Councilmember Jose Huizar, CD 14 - councilmember.huizar@lacity.org; 213-473-7014

Councilmember Joe Buscaino, CD 15 - councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org; 213-473-7015

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2020. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the writers directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it. If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department.

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