Katherine A. Ellis
Katherine A. Ellis
Associate Attorney, Los Angeles, CA
Formerly: Hostess, Server, Front Desk Clerk
Education
  • B.A., International Relations and Government, Sweet Briar College, VA;
  • J.D., University of La Verne College of Law, CA.

From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Although I didn’t meet any real-life lawyers until after graduating from high school, I somehow just knew it was the field for me. My working background is a kaleidoscope of experiences: working a hotel front desk, answering phones on Capitol Hill, hosting and serving at restaurants, fundraising for non-profits, and knocking on doors for political campaigns.

All of my experiences, however, cultivated in chasing my childhood dream of arguing motions in court and seeing trials to verdict. The diversity of my experience has made me adaptable and nimble and given me the insight to creatively resolve not only legal challenges but human ones too.

When I’m not on the clock, I love going to the movies. The countdown to awards season is about as exciting as Christmas for me—and I love Christmas! I like parties large and small, Dodgers and Lakers games, and outings with friends. Most of all, I cherish the company of my family and Sami, our senior beagle rescue.

Not long after the City of Los Angeles enacted its “Right of Recall” ordinance, the County of Los Angeles shortly followed suit. The County Board of Supervisors recently adopted similar measures to establish a right of recall for hospitality workers and others throughout unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County that were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under both Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County Right of Recall Ordinances, priority must be given to laid-off workers whose most recent separation from active employment occurred on or after March 4, 2020, as a result of lack of business, reduction in force, or other economic, non-disciplinary reason. Both ordinances create a rebuttable presumption that any termination on or after March 4, 2020, was due to a non-disciplinary reason. Unlike the city, the county ordinance does not carve out managers, supervisors, or confidential employees.

Recall notices must be made in writing and provided by mail to the worker’s last known address, email, or text message. Workers have five business days to accept or decline the offer.

Positions must be offered to laid-off workers in the following order of priority:

If the laid-off worker:

  1. Held the same or similar position at the same site of employment at the time of the laid-off worker’s most recent separation from active service with the employer; or
  2. Is or can be qualified for the position with the same training provided to a new worker hired into that position. If more than one laid-off worker is entitled to preference for a position, the offer must go to the laid-off worker with the greatest length of service in the position, and then to the laid off-worker with the greatest length of service at the employment site.

Employers with collective bargaining agreements in place are exempt, as long as they contain a right of recall provision. But the county’s ordinance also allows ordinance provisions to be expressly waived by a collective bargaining agreement if the waiver is explicitly outlined in the agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.

These ordinances create a private right of action for laid-off workers in state court for violations. But employers must first be given notice of the alleged violation and allowed 15 days from receipt of the notice to cure. Potential relief may include hiring and reinstatement rights, lost pay and benefits, statutory damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs. Neither ordinance has an official end date.

For a printable PDF of this article, click here.

THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.


Yesterday California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20, creating a rebuttable presumption that employees who test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of working contracted the virus at work. Employers will have 30 days to rebut the claim by proving the employee contracted the virus elsewhere. This order puts a significant burden of proof on employers.

The Executive Order will remain in place for 60 days after the lift of the statewide stay-at-home order (Executive Order N-33-20). The Executive Order comes just as California prepares to enter “Stage 2” of the gradual reopening of the state this Friday.

The presumption is retroactive to claims filed as early as March 19, 2020.

For a printable PDF of this article, click here.

THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.


The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday passed the amended Right of Recall and Worker Retention ordinances that mandate businesses in the hospitality industry to rehire workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinances were originally aimed at all businesses in Los Angeles but will now only apply to workers in hotels with more than 50 guestrooms, event centers, and airport service, as well as janitorial, maintenance, and security workers in commercial buildings. Restaurants, bars, and clubs are exempt, however workers of restaurants physically located on hotel property are also covered.

The recall ordinance will require employers in those industries to offer former workers their positions back based on seniority, in writing by mail, email, and text messages. Former workers will have five (5) days to respond to the employment offer. Managers and supervisors are specifically excluded from coverage. Significantly, the ordinance creates a private cause of action for qualified laid-off workers, including reinstatement, lost pay, benefits, and punitive damages.

The City’s retention ordinance requires employers to keep employees for ninety (90) days if a business changes ownership.

In his Wednesday address, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he had signed the right-of-recall ordinance and worker retention ordinance into law.

We will continue to monitor the ever-changing landscape and provide updates as new issues continue to develop as a result of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. Click here for more details on how the Right of Recall and Worker Retention ordinances will impact your Los Angeles based business and visit our website.

For a printable PDF of this article, click here.

THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.