Oakland Passes Right of Re-Employment Ordinance for Hospitality Workers

By Jonathan A. Siegel and Shiva Anari © Jackson Lewis July 27, 2020
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Oakland downtown skyline

Despite California's recent statewide closures for indoor operations at restaurants, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and wineries—and closures for select hospitality businesses across more than 30 counties—Oakland passed a new right to re-employment ordinance. Like the Los Angeles ordinance, Oakland's ordinance is limited to industries related to certain hospitality operations, such as airport hospitality providers, event centers, hotels and covered restaurant employers, including fast-food restaurants.

The ordinance specifies that airport hospitality providers are businesses that provide food, beverage, retail, or other consumer goods or services to the public at the Oakland International Airport. The ordinance also applies to a variety of airport service providers at the Oakland International Airport.

The ordinance covers only event centers in the city of Oakland that are more than 50,000 square feet or have 5,000 or more seats.

Under the ordinance, a "covered restaurant employer" is an employer with more than 500 employees, regardless of where the employees are employed, or the employer is a franchisee associated with a franchisor or a network of franchises that employ more than 500 employees in the aggregate.

The ordinance applies to any employee who (i) was employed for at least six months in the 12 months preceding Jan. 31 and (ii) whose most recent separation from employment occurred after Jan. 31 and was due to an economic, non-disciplinary reason, including but not limited to a lack of business due to a government-issued stay-at-home order, bankruptcy or reduction in force.

An employee working for a covered employer under the ordinance need only work at least two hours a week within the city of Oakland. There are additional rules in the ordinance regarding eligible employees.

Under the ordinance, a covered employer must offer eligible laid-off employees, in writing, any job positions that become available after the effective date of the ordinance that the employee is qualified for with the employer. The employer may provide notice by registered mail to the employee's last known physical address, and by email and text to the extent the employer has that information.

The ordinance specifies that an eligible employee is qualified for a position if the employee either:

  • Held the same or a substantially similar position with the employer.
  • Is or can be qualified for the position with the same training that would be provided to a new employee hired into that position.

Eligible laid-off employees shall be given no less than 10 days from the postmark date of the mailed letter and dates of email and text notification to accept or decline the offer.

Employers must also provide written notice to laid-off employees, who are not called back due to lack of qualifications if a person is hired other than a laid-off employee.

The notice shall be provided within 30 days of the date of hire. In addition, the employer must document the reason for the decision not to rehire the laid-off employee and must maintain this written document for at least three years.

Jonathan A. Siegel and Shiva Anari are attorneys with Jackson Lewis in Orange County, Calif. © 2020 Jackson Lewis. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission.

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