Starting March 13, 2017, San Jose’s The Opportunity to Work Ordinance will require San Jose employers to offer existing, qualified part-time employees additional work hours before hiring any temporary, part-time or new workers. Below are highlights from the ordinance.

A covered employer is any private San Jose employer with 36 or more non-exempt employees, which is subject to San Jose’s business tax or maintains a place of business in San Jose that is exempt under California law from the City’s business tax. A qualified employee is an employee who, (1) in a calendar week, performs at least two hours of work for the covered employer within the geographic boundaries of San Jose, and (2) is a non-exempt employee. The Ordinance also applies to temporary or seasonal employees if these two factors are met.

Once an employee qualifies under the Ordinance, the covered employer must exercise good faith and reasonable judgment as to whether the qualified non-exempt employee has the skills and experience to perform the work. Employers must use a transparent and nondiscriminatory process to distribute the hours or work among those existing employees. Retaliation against employees for exercising their rights under the Ordinance is strictly prohibited.

Employers should post an official notice of employee rights and should retain for a minimum of four years: (1) work schedules, (2) payroll records, (3) copies of written offers to current and former part-time employees for additional work hours, and (4) any other records that the San Jose Office of Equality Assurance may require that employers maintain to demonstrate compliance. Violations of the Ordinance can trigger fines of $50 per employee for each day of violation. Also, an employee can bring a private action to recover lost wages, penalties and attorneys’ fees. Additional information is available in the Office of Equality Assurance’s FAQs.