California Hospitality Employers Now Required to Rehire and Retain Displaced Workers

Clark Hill PLC

The California hospitality industry should be aware that Governor Newsom recently signed into law Bill No. 93 (“Bill 93”), which will take immediate effect.  Bill 93 is an attempt to rehire and retain displaced workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill 93 will, until December 31, 2024, require employers in the hospitality sector to offer their laid-off employees specified information about job positions that become available for which they are qualified. Hospitality employers will be required to offer positions to those laid-off employees on a preference system, in accordance with specified timelines and procedures.

Employers Covered by Bill 93

Employers covered by Bill 93 are those who operate hotels, private clubs, event centers, airport hospitality services, or building services to office, retail, or other commercial buildings. Those employers are now required to comply with Bill 93.

Employees Covered by Bill 93

Under Bill 93, “laid-off employee” is defined to mean any employee who was employed by the employer for six months or more in the 12 months preceding January 1, 2020 and whose most recent separation from active service was due to a reason related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Bill 93, laid-off employees will be given at least five business days to respond to the offer of re-employment. Further, in accordance with a preference system, if more than one employee is entitled to a position, the employer must offer it to the employee with the greatest length of service.

Importantly, employers should be aware that in order to comply with Bill 93, they must maintain strict record-keeping:   Bill 93 requires employers covered by Bill 93 to keep records for three years of all offers made to former employees. The employer must maintain the employee’s:

(a) full legal name;
(b) job classification at the time of separation from employment;
(c) date of hire;
(d) last known address of residence;
(e) last known email address;
(f) last known telephone number; and
(g) a copy of the written notices regarding the layoff provided to the employee and all records of communication between the employer and employee concerning offers of employment made to the employee pursuant to this section.

In addition, an employer who declines to recall a laid-off employee because they are not qualified must provide the laid-off employee written notice of this decision within 30 days.

Bill 93 shall impose a civil penalty of $100 for each employee whose rights under these provisions are violated, plus an additional sum payable as liquidated damages in the amount of $500 per employee for each day the rights of that employee are violated and continued until the violation is remedied.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the courts will enforce Bill 93. However, we will have to wait to determine how the courts will interpret some of the defined terms outlined in Bill 93, in particular, the term “employer” which also “includes the services of a temporary service or staffing agency or similar entity…”

Employers often find themselves trying to navigate maintaining operations while also ensuring compliance with the ever-changing laws, especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is important for employers to take notice and update their policies in order to comply with this new law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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