Los Angeles employers, like every other business across the state and the country have been devastated during the near-economic collapse brought on by the coronavirus epidemic.  However, now Los Angeles City is looking to add even more burdens on businesses looking for ways to stay in business.

The City of Los Angeles is considering two emergency measures, 72J and 73KK that will restrict businesses’ ability .

Motion 72J provides for the following:

Cities like Philadelphia have also adopted the policy of just cause for laying off workers, in which employers must show a bona fide reason to terminate employees. Los Angeles should pursue a similar policy.

In addition, the City should require employers to provide worker recall rights, in which laid-off workers have right of first refusal to return to jobs once businesses reopen.

Lastly, the City should pursue a worker retention policy in the case of bankruptcy or transfer of ownership. As some businesses declare bankruptcy and transition to alternate owners, the new owners should be required to retain the same employees. This is particularly of concern in the hospitality and tourism industries.

The motion asked the City Attorney to draft an emergency ordinance that would apply retro-actively to March 1, 2020 that would only permit employers to terminate an employee for “just cause.”  Employers could only terminate employees in order of seniority.  In addition, if a company takes over ownership of a prior company, the new company would be required to give preference to the employees previously employed at the same worksite in order of seniority.  Finally, the motion would require employers to permit employees to take a total of 15 one-minute breaks every 4 hours to wash their hands.

Motion 72KK seeks to have the City to establish regulatory guidelines for hospitality workers requiring:

  • Any layoffs could only be done by seniority;
  • Re-hiring employees could only be by seniority;
  • Require “just cause” terminations; and
  • “worker retention”

I’m not exactly clear what the “worker retention” prevision envisions, but I expect that it would prohibit employers from terminating employees and forcing them to keep employees on the payroll even if the company cannot afford to do so.

To the extent any businesses in Los Angeles survive the coronavirus shutdown, if any of these measures pass, it will have the effect of eliminating these businesses.

Businesses affected by these measures, should they pass, should contact LA City Council members to express their concerns:

Councilmember Gil Cedillo, CD1
gilbert.cedillo@lacity.org; 213-434-4054

Councilmember Paul Krekorian, CD2
paul.krekorian@lacity.org; 213-473-7002

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, CD3
councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org; 213-473-7003

Councilmember David Ryu, CD 4
cd4.issues@lacity.org; 213-473-7004

Councilmember Paul Koretz, CD5
paul.koretz@lacity.org; 213-473-7005

Council President Nury Martinez, CD6
councilmember.martinez@lacity.org; 213-473-7006

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, CD 7
councilmember.rodriguez@lacity.org; 213-473-7007

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, CD 8
councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org ; 213-473-7008

Councilmember Curren Price, Jr., CD 9
councilmember.price@lacity.org; 213-473-7009

Councilmember Herb Wesson, CD 10
herb.wesson@lacity.org; 213-473-7010

Councilmember Mike Bonin, CD 11
councilmember.bonin@lacity.org; 213-473-7011

Councilmember John Lee, CD 12
councilmember.lee@lacity.org; 213-473-7012

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, CD 13
councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org; 213-473-7013

Councilmember Jose Huizar, CD 14
councilmember.huizar@lacity.org; 213-473-7014

Councilmember Joe Buscaino, CD 15
councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org; 213-473-7015