Restaurant Industry Newsletter - June 2013

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In An Effort To Raise Awareness Of Human Trafficking California Requires Certain Restaurants To Post Public Notices Regarding Victims' Rights

Executive Summary: The California Legislature has enacted a new law that requires restaurants (that serve alcohol) to post public notices regarding slavery and human trafficking or face stiff penalties.  This new law became effective on April 1, 2013 and is the latest in California's efforts to combat this unlawful multi-million dollar industry.

Background

A wide array of legislation has been introduced to take steps to fight the crime of human trafficking in California that has focused on raising awareness and criminalizing sex and labor trafficking.  According to the California Attorney General, the United States is widely regarded as a destination country for modern slavery.  It is estimated that there are nearly 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide at any time.  This 20.9 million includes 14.2 million victims of labor exploitation, 4.5 million victims of sexual exploitation, and 2.2 million victims of state imposed forced labor.  The victims of human trafficking are often young girls and women.  Young girls and women are 55% of the forced labor victims and 98% of sex trafficking victims.  The U.S. Department of State estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year. 

Am I a Covered Employer?  

California's newly enacted Civil Code section 52.6 requires the following businesses and establishments to post a public notice concerning slavery and human trafficking:

  1. Restaurants that serve alcohol;
  2. Adult or sexually oriented businesses; 
  3. Airports;
  4. Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations;
  5. Bus stations;
  6. Truck stops; 
  7. Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals;
  8. Urgent care centers;
  9. Farm labor contractors; 
  10. Privately operated job recruitment centers;
  11. Roadside rest areas; and
  12. Businesses or establishments that offer massage or bodywork services.

What Are the Requirements For the Notice?

The notice must contain specific language that advises victims of their rights and resources that are available.  The Attorney General has developed a "model notice" that can be accessed by clicking on this link: 

https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/ht/HumanTraffickMandate_ENG.pdf?

The notice must be posted near the public entrance of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices customarily are posted.  It must be at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches and written in size 16 font.  It must be posted in English, Spanish, and any other language that is widely spoken in the business or establishment's location. 

Liability and Penalties for Failing to Post the Notice 

Any business or establishment that fails to comply with the notice requirements is liable for a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) for a first offense and one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each subsequent offense.

Employers' Bottom Line:  Companies who are covered by this new law should immediately download the Attorney General's model notice and post it in a conspicuous place in the workplace.

If you have any questions regarding the new law or other labor or employment related issues, please contact the author of this Alert, Michelle Abidoye, mabidoye@fordharrison.com, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.