Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently signed the Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance (“Ordinance”) into law.[i] The Ordinance was passed on June 28, 2022 by the City Councili and will take effect August 12, 2022.iii The purpose for the ordinance is to promote personal safety for hotel workers who are vulnerable to crimes and other threatening behavior, and additionally assure workers receive fair compensation for their work assignments.
Who does the Ordinance apply to?
The ordinance applies to all “hotel employers,” defined as “any person who owns, controls, or operates a hotel” in the City of Los Angeles—including “any person or contract who, in a managerial, supervisor, or confidential capacity, employs hotel workers to provide services at a hotel in conjunction with the hotel’s purpose.”[ii] Additionally, the Ordinance applies to any “contracted, leased or sublet premises operated in conjunction with a hotel.”i
What Key Regulations does the Ordinance Impose?
The Ordinances imposes the following regulations:
- Notice. A hotel employer shall provide written notice of the hotel workers’ rights to each hotel worker at the time of hire or within 30 days of the effective date of the Ordinance, whichever is later. The notice shall be provided in English, Spanish, and any other language known by the hotel employer to be spoken by ten percent or more of the hotel workers employed by the hotel employer.iii
- Cleaning Limitations. For hotels with 45 or more guest rooms, the Ordinance limits the number of square feet that the hotel room attendant may clean in one day. For hotels between 45-60 guest rooms, the limitation is 4,000 square feet; for hotels with 60 or more rooms, the limitation is 3,500 square feet. If an attendant cleans more than the limited square footage, the hotel must pay the room attendant twice the room attendant’s regular rate or pay for each and every hour worked during the day.iii
- Programs/Policies Regarding Daily Guest Room Cleaning. The Ordinance prevents hotels from implementing any program or policy where guest rooms are not sanitized and cleaned after every night of occupancy, which includes programs where guides receive financial incentives to not have their rooms cleaned daily.i
- Security. Hotels are required to provide a “personal security device” to all hotel workers assigned to work in guest room or restroom facilities where other hotel workers are not assigned to be present. The personal security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker and shall be maintained in good working order by the hotel employer.[iii] The hotel must designate and assign a security guard who can provide on-scene assistance if the personal security device is activated; however, if the hotel has fewer than 60 guest rooms, the hotel may designate a manager employee instead of a security guard.i
- Consent for Overtime. A hotel employer shall not require or permit a hotel worker to work more than 10 hours in a workday unless the hotel worker consents in writing to do so. A hotel worker’s consent is not valid unless the hotel employer has advised the worker in writing prior to the hotel worker’s consent that the hotel worker may decline to work more than 10 hours in a workday and that the hotel employer will not subject the worker to any adverse employment action for declining to work more than 10 hours in a workday.iii
- Expanding Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance. The hotel worker retention ordinance, which traditionally only applied to hotels in the LAX corridor, now applies to all hotels in the city. The expansion to the Ordinance states if a hotel undergoes a change in control, the successor hotel employer is required to hire the previous employees for a 90-day transition period and may not discharge the employees without cause.i
- Joint Employer Civil Liability. The Ordinance imposes joint civil liability on a hotel employer which contracts with another hotel employer, temporary staffing agency, employee leasing agency or professional employer organization, to obtain the hotel employee services.iii
- One-Year Exception. The Ordinance provides a one-year exemption for hotels which demonstrate compliance would require the hotel to reduce its workforce by 20% or reduce total hours by more than 30% to avoid bankruptcy or shutdown.[iv]
- Waivable Provisions. The Ordinance allows for the workload limitation, voluntary overtime and daily cleaning provisions to be waived in a collective bargaining agreement only if the waiver it set forth in clear and unambiguous terms.iii
Next Steps for Hotel Employers
This Ordinance went into effect on August 12, 2022. Hotel employers should ensure they have updated their training for employees – most especially supervision staff. Recommended safeguards and training include obtaining personal security devices, preparing and posting necessary signage for guest rooms and restrooms, confirming minimum wage requirements, updating and maintain records regarding square footage calculation, and reviewing policies and procedures for time off policies iii
These regulations and developments may seem cumbersome to implement, but employers do not need to face these changes alone. Please reach out to Tyson & Mendes’ employment team with any questions regarding this development and other changes in California employment law.
Fiona Murphy co-authored and is a law clerk in Tyson & Mendes’ 2022 clerkship program.
[i] Pooja Nair & Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, Los Angeles Enacts Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance JD Supra (July 20, 2022), https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/los-angeles-enacts-hotel-worker-9410640.
[ii] L.A.M.C §182.00
[iv] Don’t Panic Just Yet – the 8 things Los Angeles hotels need to do to comply with New Worker Protection Ordinance, Fisher Phillips (July 12, 2022), https://www.fisherphillips.com/news-insights/8-things-los-angeles-hotels-comply-new-worker-protection-ordinance.html.