Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

On July 13, 2020, the California Department of Public Health issued Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance urging employers not to require a negative COVID-19 test before allowing an employee to return to work after they have tested positive for COVID-19.

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On Tuesday, Jill H. Coffman, director of the National Labor Relations Board’s Region 20 office in San Francisco, issued an order allowing furloughed hotel workers to hold union elections by mail in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNITE HERE Local 5 filed a petition with the Board to represent a bargaining unit of approximately 350 employees of the Prince Waikiki, a luxury hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. Like many employers across the country, the Hotel temporarily suspended its operations due to government regulations implemented in response to COVID-19. As a result, all but 50 of its employees in the petitioned-for-unit were temporarily furloughed in late-March with no lapse in benefits. The employees were added back to the payroll in late-April. By mid-June the Hotel began paying employees for time actually worked and conducted ZOOM meetings with staff in preparation for hotel stays beginning on August 1, 2020.

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On June 16, 2020, nearly seven weeks after the COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance was adopted by the Los Angeles City Council, the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Contract Administration, Office of Wage Standards (“OWS”) finally published long-awaited guidelines to help employers understand their new responsibilities under the Recall Ordinance.

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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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As businesses adapt to their “new normal” and prepare for the summer season, employers should be mindful of the approaching increases to city and state minimum wages. Employers should take the time to ensure that they are ready for minimum wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2020.

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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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