California hotel workers laid off due to COVID-19 get rehire rights

By Jim Butler - Partner, Chairman, Global Hospitality Group® and Travis Gemoets - Partner

30 April 2021
Jim  Butler
Jim Butler
Travis  Gemoets
Travis Gemoets

As coronavirus cases drop and economic activity starts to return to normal, the hospitality industry will soon be able to begin replacing workers who were laid off due to the pandemic. Some cities in California, and now the entire state, have enacted requirements for how hotels and other businesses can fill open positions; my partner, Travis Gemoets, has summarized the new law below. - Jim Butler 

California hospitality workers laid off during COVID-19 pandemic get rehire rights Travis M. Gemoets, Partner & Senior Member of JMBM's Global Hospitality Group®

On Friday, April 16, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom put new employer obligations into law by signing Senate Bill 93, requiring hotel, event center, airport hospitality and janitorial employers to first rehire workers laid off during the pandemic when jobs become available, essentially establishing "recall rights" more commonly associated with union collective bargaining agreements. Senate Bill 93 takes effect immediately after quickly making its way through the Legislature as a budget trailer bill and will be in effect until the end of 2024. Gov. Newsom vetoed a more expansive labor-backed bill last year.

SB 93 requires employers in hospitality and business services industries to offer new positions for similar work to employees laid off during the pandemic within five days of creating a position. To be eligible for these newly-established recall rights, the employee must have been employed for more than six months in 2019, and must have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees in this group who were fired for disciplinary reasons are not eligible.

In cases in which more than one laid off employee qualifies for a position, the employer is required to offer it to the worker with the longest tenure. Prior to the enactment of SB 93, several California cities had enacted their own recall rights laws, including Santa Monica, Los Angeles (city and county), Pasadena, Glendale and Long Beach.

How JMBM helps clients with COVID-related questions

During the COVID pandemic, the JMBM Labor & Employment Department has provided timely and up-to-date advice to our clients on such critical subject matters as furlough and lay-off strategies, applying paid leave laws, negotiating with unions on lay-off issues and contract modifications, COVID-related safety protocols for employees returning to the workforce, wage and hour issues, and strategies to minimize workers' compensation claims.

For more information or assistance . . .

We have a rich library of free resources available at HotelLawyer.com, including more than 1,000 substantive blog articles on more than 20 topics at Hotel Law Blog, handbooks, guides, checklists and industry presentations at our Resource Center, and more about our Global Hospitality Group®. Check it out!

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JMBM Global Hospitality Group

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Phone: (310) 203-8080
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Jim Butler

Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM and one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. Devoting 100% of his practice to hospitality, Jim is author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and chairman of the Global Hospitality Group® which focuses on representing hotel owners, developers, and lenders. Jim and his team have helped clients as business and legal advisors on more than $87 billion of hotel purchase, sale, financing, and other transactions, involving more than 3,900 properties all over the world. In the last 18 months, they have closed more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 financing and sourced more than half of that for our clients. In addition to acquisitions, dispositions and financing, the Group handles ADA compliance and defense, hotel mixed-use development, labor and employment, management, branding and franchise agreements and litigation. With experience gained from more than 1,000 bankruptcies, receiverships and workouts, they use innovative solutions to unlock and create value for lenders and opportunistic investors for distressed assets. Jim also serves as an expert witness in hospitality matters.

Travis Gemoets

Travis Gemoets is an experienced trial lawyer representing management in all facets of labor and employment law, including wage/hour class actions, claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, trade secrets and unfair competition, union/management relations and workplace violence. As a member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®, he negotiates union contracts and resolves labor disputes throughout the country, defends class action claims, develops strategies for the mass onboarding and separation of employees, and recommends proactive changes to employers’ policies and practices in order to minimize potential liability risks. Contact Travis at 310.785.5387 or TGemoets@jmbm.com.

Jim Butler

Phone: +1 310 201 3526
Fax: 310.203.0567
jbutler@jmbm.com