California to Require Businesses to Rehire Employees Laid Off During COVID-19 Downturn

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Contact

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

On Friday, April 16, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 93, requiring employers in several hospitality sectors to rehire workers laid off during the pandemic before filling positions with new workers.

The new law applies to employers in a variety of sectors, including:

  • Airport hospitality operations and service providers (e.g., businesses that provide consumer services such as food and beverage and retail, as well as airport facility management and support functions such as loading and unloading aircraft, security, ground-handling of aircraft, aircraft cleaning, ticketing, and check-in functions)
  • Building services (including “janitorial, building maintenance, or security services”)
  • Event centers (including publicly or privately owned structures of more than 50,000 square feet or 1,000 seats used for public performances, sporting events, meetings, etc., such as concert halls, sports arenas, racetracks and convention centers)
  • Hotels and private clubs (including hotels and clubs with 50 or more guest rooms)

SB 93 requires employers in covered sectors to offer a laid-off employee a position that becomes available if the employee held the same or a similar position when their employment was most recently terminated. Covered employers must provide at least five business days’ notice of a job offer to an eligible former employee before filling it. If multiple former employees are entitled to be rehired for a position, the employer must adhere to a preference system such as seniority to determine who will be offered the position. If an employer declines to recall a laid-off employee based on the employee’s lack of qualifications for a position, the employer must provide the laid-off employee written notice of its decision within 30 days and include the reasons for the decision in the notice.

The requirements of the new law apply to any employee who was employed 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. The law contains a nonexhaustive list of reasons for termination that could be “related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency is primarily responsible for enforcing the new law. The law provides for civil sanctions for non-compliance, not criminal penalties.

The new law may be challenged in court, although a statement by the California Hotel & Lodging Association offers relatively muted criticism of the 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.

© Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Contact
more
less

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.