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Published on:

19 May 2020

 

Click to see our category-killer experience with hotels, and click here for the latest articles on Labor & Employment.

Hotel Lawyer on opening our country back up — California update

As California lawmakers release new guidance on easing stay-at-home restrictions, many employers are wondering how they can safely begin to reopen their businesses. In their latest update, JMBM’s Labor & Employment Group discuss the four phases of reopening and what employers can expect as they implement new workplace requirements. – Jim

California Employers’ Road Map to Reopening the Physical Workplace
by
Marta Fernandez

In only two months, California employers have experienced an unprecedented disruption to business and the adoption and implementation of myriad new laws aimed at remedying the economic effects of COVID-19 and limiting its spread. But even now, as California lawmakers from the Governor to local mayors agree that it is time for California to get back to doing business, there is great uncertainty as to when and how this can safely occur.

The process will obviously be gradual and subject to reversal at any time.  Business operations will eventually return to full capacity, but the workplace will be different for months, if not years, to come as a result of new laws and the nature of the pandemic crisis itself.

When it comes to employee matters, how can an employer best develop a plan to navigate the uncertainty of emergency orders restricting operations, new laws and regulations, and an entirely new business environment?

We suggest that employers work with their professionals to implement their own four phase plan:

  1. Determine when your business can lawfully reopen and to what extent
  2. Assess how the timing of bringing employees back affects the risks and costs associated with reopening your business
  3. Identify any limitations on your discretion to choose which employees to bring back and when
  4. Understand new workplace requirements and create systems to implement them

Read the full alert here for a discussion of all four phases.

Online Resources

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

19 March 2020
Click here for the latest articles on Labor & Employment.
Click here for the latest articles on the coronavirus.

With hour-by-hour developments, here is an update on yesterday’s Labor & Employment blog post.
Labor Lawyer COVID-19 Update: Family First Act
signed by President Trump 

(Family First Coronavirus Response Act)
by
Marta Fernandez

As we expected, the federal government will provide additional sick leave relief and paid child care leave for employees; in anticipation of things to come, California will ease employers’ mass layoff notice requirements.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Yesterday, March 18, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the legislature’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and all government employers must be ready to offer emergency family and medical leave and emergency paid sick leave to eligible employees. Additional information and further clarification on these sweeping provisions will likely be provided in the coming days through federal guidance. This program will become effective within 15 days after its enactment by President Trump and is set to expire on December 31, 2020.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

The paid sick leave portion of the Act requires covered employers to provide all employees who cannot work or telework due to COVID-19 related circumstances, with up to 80 hours of paid sick time, prorated for part-time employees. Employees are eligible if they meet any one of the following circumstances:

    1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
    2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
    4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).
    5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of the son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
    6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

If an employee is taking the leave for any one of the first three reasons listed above, the employee must be compensated at the higher of his or her regular rate, the federal minimum wage, or the local minimum wage. If an employee is taking the leave for one of the three subsequent reasons listed above, the employee must be paid two-thirds of the rate he or she would otherwise receive. This paid leave is separate and above any existing sick leave entitlements that employees may already have. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

30 December 2019

Click here for the latest articles on Labor & Employment.

Hotel Lawyer with labor & employment law update for 2020

Several new pieces of California legislation will take effect on the first day of the new year, impacting nearly all employers and how they handle worker classification, discrimination disputes, arbitration agreements, and union organizing. Our round-up will help you determine which key issues may impact you in 2020; contact us to be sure you’re ready for all these upcoming changes.
Use of Independent Contractors Severely Limited as of New Year
On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 5 into law, codifying the holding in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court which severely curtailed when employers may use independent contractors. AB 5 is effective January 1, 2020 and sets forth an “ABC” tests to determine whether workers qualify as independent contractors.

The test examines whether:

  1. The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact
  2. The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business
  3. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed

The “B” prong is new, and may be particularly problematic for businesses – potentially resulting in misclassification of individuals who were formerly properly classified as independent contractors.

AB 5 codifies a number of exceptions from the ABC test, including but not limited to:

  1. A person or organization licensed by the Department of Insurance;
  2. California licensed physician, surgeon, dentist, podiatrist, psychologist, or veterinarian;
  3. California licensed lawyer, architect, engineer, private investigator, or accountant;
  4. Securities broker-dealer or investment adviser or their agents and representatives registered with the SEC or FINRA or licensed by California;
  5. Direct sales salespeople;
  6. Commercial fishermen.

Workers in these categories are subject to the “Economic Realities” test set forth in Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Dept. of Industrial Relations. In applying the economic realities test, the most significant factor to be considered is whether the person to whom service is rendered (the employer or principal) has control, or the right to control, the worker both as to the work done and the manner and means in which it is performed.

AB 5 also provides for limited exemptions to the ABC test for certain professional services, business-to-business contracts, construction subcontracts, relationships between referral agencies and service providers, and contracts between motor clubs and third parties. When these categories of relationships qualify, they are subject to Borello’s economic realities test.

What this means for you: All businesses using independent contractors should conduct audits and review written independent contracts under the new standards to ensure that workers are properly classified. Misclassification can result in significant penalties, wage and hour liability, EDD and other tax liabilities as well as trigger class action lawsuits.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

21 February 2019

Voters in Long Beach, California passed an initiative in November 2018 that affects all hotels in Long Beach with more than 50 hotel rooms. The Hotel Workplace Requirements and Restrictions Initiative Ordinance, known as the “Panic Button Initiative” places new requirements and restrictions on hotel owners and puts non-union hotels at a disadvantage.

Marta Fernandez, Hotel Lawyer and a partner in JMBM’s Labor & Employment department, discusses “Panic Buttons” and the new ordinance below and describes what Long Beach hotels should do to prepare for compliance and potential union organizing.
What hotel owners need to know about unions and
the “Panic Button” ordinance in Long Beach, CA
by
Marta M. Fernandez, Hotel Lawyer and Labor & Employment Partner

Passed by voters last November, the “Panic Button Initiative” – which was placed on the local ballot after the hotel workers union submitted 46,000 signatures to the City Clerk in Long Beach, California – has become a new chapter in the City of Long Beach Municipal Code, titled “Hotel Working Conditions.”

The new code mandates that all hotels with 50+ rooms in Long Beach, California must

  • Provide panic buttons for workers to protect them against sexual assault
  • Require notices regarding the use of panic buttons to be posted in guest rooms
  • Give workers who are assaulted the right to reassignment and paid time off for reporting and consultation

Unrelated to potential assaults on hotel housekeepers, the ordinance also requires hotels to

  • Place limits on overtime and make overtime voluntary
  • Limit the amount of space that housekeepers can clean per shift
  • Keep certain records relating to the above

Why the hotel union spent resources on an initiative that does not apply to union hotels

The Panic Button Initiative (also known as Measure WW) tellingly included a significant carve-out for unionized hotels – all provisions of the new ordinance may be waived for union hotels through the collective bargaining process.

Under the guise of protecting workers, the ordinance gives an unfair advantage to union hotels in Long Beach. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

11 October 2018

Starting in January 2020, California hotels and motels must provide human trafficking awareness training to their employees, to ensure that those most likely to come into contact with victims of trafficking are able to help in a way that is effective and safe for both guests and employees.

Marta Fernandez, a partner in JMBM’s Labor & Employment department, outlines the new law below and discusses what hotels should do to prepare for compliance.
Legislative Update: California hotels soon will be required to provide human trafficking awareness training to employees
by
Marta Fernandez

On September 27, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 970 requiring California hotel and motel employers to provide “human trafficking awareness” training and education to employees.

Effective January 1, 2020, hotel and motel employers must provide at least 20 minutes of training to certain employees every 2 years; newly hired employees must receive training within 6 months of their hire dates.

Employees required to receive the training are those who are likely to interact or come into contact with victims of human trafficking including, but not limited to: employees who work in the reception area, perform housekeeping duties, help customers in moving their possessions, or drive customers.

Why the hospitality industry is singled out

While we might read reports of sex trafficking at hotels during events like the Super Bowl, the sad reality is that human trafficking takes place at hotels and motels year round. It takes place in all segments of hotels – economy to luxury – and in all geographic areas. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

8 March 2013

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® announces publication of the How to Buy a Hotel Handbook.

The Global Hospitality Group® of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) today announced the release of the How to Buy a Hotel Handbook, third in the “We Wrote the Book™” series of handbooks published by the Group’s hotel lawyers.

Jim Butler is the Chairman of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. The How to Buy a Hotel Handbook is based on the experience Jim’s team has gained from more than $87 billion of hotel transactions involving more than 1,300 hotels all over the world. The Handbook provides a detailed overview of the hotel acquisition process, a thorough due diligence checklist, and informative articles that address some of the most important questions that arise when buying or selling a hotel.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

12 July 2010

Hotel Lawyer with an alert about the DOL’s historic action targeting hotels.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is taking historic action. With a huge increase in funding and staffing, the DOL is specifically targeting audits and enforcement actions for every hotel, motel, and resort in the U.S. The program will search for violations of overtime rules, minimum wage, and classification of exempt and non-exempt positions. In addition, one of the primary focal points of these audits will be employers with workers holding H-2B visas.

Hotel labor lawyer Marta Fernandez and hotel lawyer, Jim Abrams, both senior members of the JMBM Global Hospitality Group®, say, ” We expect that the DOL compliance audits will cover all of the laws administered by the DOL and WHD including H-2B labor certification wage requirements and other federal laws such as minimum wage, overtime, and family and medical leave.”

In today’s Alert, they also suggest “4 Things that you should do now — Before it is too late.”

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

1 September 2009

This is one of many articles on the subject of “troubled hotel loans – workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships” in the rich library at www.HotelLawBlog.com.

Do the math yourself! Run a present value analysis of likely cash flows on 3 alternate scenarios. Decide whether you have the stamina and capital for a long haul if you intend to hold.

Hotel Lawyer. As a hotel owner or lender with a distressed property in the worst business environment for more than 70 years, you have a decision to make. Do you sell the hotel now at a deep discount, or do you hold on for things to get better? How long does it take to market a property in this environment?

Owners and lenders of thousands of hotels in the United States and abroad are confronted with this decision. Here are a few thoughts from the pros.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

30 August 2009

This is one of many articles on the subject of “troubled hotel loans – workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships” in the rich library at www.HotelLawBlog.com.

Hotel Lawyer with some bad news for the luxury hotel segment.

From some reactions, you might think that the likely “End Of The Recession” by the end of 2009 means that the “Recovery” is close behind.

Unfortunately, what follows next will not feel much better for many for a very long time. Nowhere is that more true than in the luxury hotel segment, where Smith Travel Research foresees a 27% drop in RevPAR for 2009 followed by another 9% in 2010!

Here are a few of the most interesting slides from Smith Travel Research and other industry sources since August 20, 2009, focusing on the luxury hotel segment. How bad are things? How bad are they likely to get from here? Fasten your seat belt!

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

9 August 2009

Please see “troubled hotel loans – workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships” for the latest articles on troubled hotels.

Hotel closings: Hotel Lawyer with another look at alternatives to closing that hotel.

We have gotten a lot of feedback on our recent article about the precipitous drop in value that accompanies a hotel closing, or as some say, when the hotel is “put in mothballs” or “goes dark”. See Closing that hotel may be the worst money-saving idea you ever had! Lenders, here’s why mothballing a hotel can be a very bad idea.

In that recent article, we talked about 8 bad things that happen when you close a hotel, and suggested that a hotel should never be closed without first running a careful analysis of cash flows and holding costs. That is not to say, a hotel should never be closed, but a hotel closing deserves close scrutiny, and full exploration of the alternatives.

Today, we will focus on one of those.

CONTINUE READING →

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