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LA enacts Worker Retention and Right of Recall Ordinances

Amid the current global health crisis, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment. National anxiety is, arguably, higher than it has been in decades. How will impacted individuals pay their bills? The concern felt by workers in janitorial, maintenance, security and hospitality fields is heightened. These service industries require people to be present in close proximity. Responding to the needs of these heavily impacted industries, LA signed two new ordinances in May, which will go into effect June 14, 2020.

What are the new ordinances?

The Right of Recall Ordinance states that workers who were laid off due to the global health crisis or stay-at-home restrictions have the first right of recall to their jobs when their employer can maintain staff again.

The Worker Retention Ordinance ensures that workers can retain their employment if their company changes ownership.

What categories of business do the ordinances apply to?

The ordinances above apply to four categories of business. They are:

  • Airports and any company that provides services at an airport. However, airlines are exempt.
  • Commercial properties that employ 25 or more janitorial, maintenance or security personnel. The ordinance covers these employees only; other employees are exempt.
  • Event centers with more than 50,000 square feet of space or with a seating capacity of more than 1,000.
  • Hotels that either contain 50 or more rooms or earned a gross income of more than $5 million in 2019.

Who qualifies for retention and right of recall?

Under the Right of Retention Ordinance, the former owner’s employees must receive preferential hiring treatment for six months following the change in management and the new company must retain them for at least 90 days, barring cause for termination.

Under the Right of Recall Ordinance, employers must offer a laid-off employee their previously held position if they:

  • Held the same position at this location when laid off, given the layoff occurred on or after March 4, 2020
  • Can qualify for a job with the same amount of training that a new hire would receive
  • Performed at least two hours of work per week at their place of employment
  • Worked at the company for six months or more

If multiple employees qualify for a limited number of positions, seniority will determine who receives the offer of employment.

How will companies notify qualifying employees?

The employer must make a written offer by mail, email and text message of recall to the employee for any position that becomes available for which the individual qualifies. The employee has five days in which to accept the offer. If the employee is ill and unable to work, the employee can use any paid time off the position offers.

If the employer fails to adhere to the provisions of the recall ordinances, the aggrieved employee is entitled to reinstatement rights, actual damages for lost pay and benefits, punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. We highly suggest you contact an employment law attorney if you feel your rights have been violated.

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