Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

The City of Los Angeles released its increased minimum wage for hotels in the City of LA with 150+ rooms. On July 1, 2020, the hourly minimum wage increases from $16.63/hour to $17.13/hour for these hotel workers. The announcement can be found on the City of Los Angeles’ website, which can be found here.

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On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court made its long-awaited decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, holding that Title VII protections expand to sexual orientation discrimination. In a landmark ruling, Justice Gorsuch, appointed by President Trump in 2017, delivered the majority opinion, in a move expanding beyond partisanship ideology. In a 6-3 opinion, the Court found that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII under the definition of “sex.” Although many states have already addressed this gap in the law in their own anti-discrimination laws, the ruling resolves a circuit split amongst the federal Courts of Appeals and closes a blind spot in federal law.

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The recently enacted Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 changes several provisions in the original PPP loan program enacted as part of the CARES Act. The PPPFA gives borrowers more flexibility and time to spend the PPP loan proceeds and allows the funds to be used on broader categories of expenses while still qualifying for loan forgiveness.

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On June 5, 2020, CAL-OSHA released non-exhaustive guidelines for reopening hotels, lodging, and short-term rentals. Reopening processes should begin no sooner than June 12, 2020, subject to local county health officer approval. Properties with large meeting venues, banquet halls, or convention centers are advised to keep those areas closed until further approval. Property managers and other rental unit owners and operators must only rent unoccupied units and cannot rent rooms or spaces within an occupied residence at this time.

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Many employers have “no solicitation” policies for the workplace, prohibiting employees from soliciting for causes of any kind at work. These policies can be tricky to enforce when union solicitation is at issue. In recent years, the Board had narrowed the definition of “union solicitation” to hold that it does not qualify as “solicitation” unless the person soliciting provided a union authorization card to the listener. Now, the Board has reversed that precedent.

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The fluctuating workweek formula applies to nonexempt, salaried employees whose hours vary widely from week to week. The formula allows employers to pay overtime hours at diminishing rates as long as they pay workers a minimum base salary, regardless of how many hours they work. While certain states have disallowed the fluctuating workweek, states who allow the method just received some clarity from the Department of Labor (“DOL”).

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The recent guidance concerning OSHA’s record-keeping requirements will go into effect on May 26, 2020. Under the requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, which means employers are duty-bound to record cases of COVID-19, if they meet certain criteria.

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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.

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California recently modified its Stay-at-Home Order (Executive Order N-33-20) as of May 8, 2020, to allow manufacturing and certain retail businesses to re-open for curbside business. This modification of the Stay-at-Home Order has left hotels wondering whether hotels are allowed to re-open its doors to guests traveling for leisure or non-essential travel.

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Dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries, and wineries that provide sit-down meals are permitted to open under Stage Two of Governor Newsom’s plan. In light of re-openings, California issued guidance to support a safe, clean environment for both workers and customers. The guidance (available in full here) recommends implementing a written, workplace-specific plan. To create a workplace-specific plan, employers should perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas and designate a person at each establishment to implement the plan. After the initial implementation of the plan, employers should regularly reevaluate the establishment for compliance with the plan, investigate any COVID-19 illness, and determine whether work factors could have contributed to a risk of infection. Employers should then update the plan as needed.

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