City of San Diego COVID-19 Worker Recall Ordinance

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On September 8, 2020, the San Diego City Council passed the City of San Diego COVID-19 Worker Recall Ordinance that requires certain commercial property employers, hotel employers, and event center employers offer their “laid off” employees the same or similar job(s) in the event that they become available after their layoff date as defined below.

The ordinance defines a “laid-off employee” as an employee that, in any particular work week, performs at least two hours of work within the City of San Diego, has worked at least six months within the 12-months March 4, 2020, or in the case of an event center, employees 3-months or more in the 12-months preceding March 4, 2020 and whose most recent separation from service occurred on or after March 4, 2020 as a result of a government shut-down, lack or business, reduction in workforce, or other economic non-disciplinary reason. It important to note that a “laid-off employee” does not include a manager, supervisor, or confidential employee. 

Employer Requirements

An employer covered under this ordinance is required to offer the laid-off employee in writing all job positions that become available for which the employee is eligible.
Employee eligibility is determined by:

Employee previously held the same or similar positions, or employee would be qualified for the open position with the same amount of training that would be given to a new hire in the open position.

If more than one employee is eligible for the open position, the employee with the most seniority is entitled to the position.

Employers must provide employees with at least three business days to accept the offer.

If the employers declines to recall an employee to a position due to lack of qualifications and hires someone else into the position, the employer is required to provide the laid-off employee with written notice of the non-selection within 30 days of the date the hire listed the reason for the decision.

Employer must provide all laid-off employees with written notice of the date of their lay-off and their rights under the recall ordinance within 30 days of the effective date of the city ordinance.

Employer is required to retain the records for at least three years for each laid-off employee. Records are to include: Employee’s full legal name, job classification, date of hire, employee’s last known physical address, and a copy of the written notification provided to the employee at the time of lay-off.

Employers Covered Under the Ordinance

The City ordinance defines the following as covered businesses:

Commercial Property is defined as an owner, operator, manager, or lessee, including a contract, subcontractor, or sublessee, of a non-residential property within the City of San Diego that employees 10 or more janitorial, maintenance, or security service employees.

Hotel Business is defined as the owner, operator, or manger f a building in the City of San Diego with at least 100 guest rooms that provide temporary lodging in the form of overnight accommodations. 

Eligible employees that are not made an offer for a job they are qualified for may bring civil action against the employer. No employer may take any retaliatory action, termination or compensation reduction toward any employee for seeking their rights under the ordinance. 

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