On May 4, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed two new ordinances into law, affecting specified hotels and their restaurants, event centers, commercial properties, and airport services. The Right of Recall Ordinance forces employers in these specified industries to rehire certain laid off workers, rather than allowing the rehire process to proceed at the employer’s discretion. The Worker Retention Ordinance provides that employers in these industries must provide seniority preferences to workers in the event of a change in business ownership or control within two years of the City of Los Angeles’s COVID-19 emergency declarations. For more information on these Los Angeles ordinances, see our previous alert.

Following in Los Angeles’ footsteps, on May 19, 2020, the City of Long Beach adopted its own Right of Recall Ordinance and Worker Retention Ordinance, both largely mirroring the Los Angeles ordinances.

Luckily, unlike the Los Angeles ordinances, the two Long Beach ordinances apply only to the following limited industries:

  • Commercial Property Employers located in the City of Long Beach that provide janitorial services and employ at least 25 employees
  • Hotel Employers including anyone who owns, controls, or operates a hotel in the City of Long Beach and employs at least 25 employees who provide services at the hotel in association with the hotel’s purpose

The Right of Recall Ordinance requires that these employers rehire workers who have been laid off due to “a lack of business, a reduction in work force, bankruptcy, or other economic, non-disciplinary reason.”

As with the Los Angeles Right of Recall Ordinance, affected employers in Long Beach must make a written offer of employment (by mail, email, and text message) for any position that is or becomes available for which the worker is qualified. To be eligible for recall, a laid off individual must have either: (a) held the same or similar position at the same employment site at the time of the most recent separation; or (b) be qualified or capable of being qualified for the position by receiving the same training that a completely new hire would receive for the position.

Also as in Los Angeles, if two or more laid off workers are eligible for recall for the same open position, employers in the above-specified industries must give priority based on seniority to the worker with the greatest length of service for the employer (i.e., holding the same or similar position at the same employment site).

Workers offered recall to employment must be given five days to accept or reject the offer of employment.

The accompanying Worker Retention Ordinance orders that in the event of a change in control or ownership of a commercial property or hotel business, those employed on or after March 4, 2020 by the incumbent business, must be placed on a “preferential hiring list.” The new business must hire workers from this preferential hiring list for at least six months and must retain them for at least 90 days, during which, a rehired employee cannot be fired without cause.

Both ordinances will become effective on June 22, 2020.

We anticipate that other cities may enact similar ordinances.