The Los Angeles City Council, in an emergency meeting Friday, discussed two lightning rod topics within the business community, “Right to Recall” and “Right of Retention” ordinances, which would dictate hiring – and firing – practices of businesses. Another ordinance was dropped from the agenda, which would have required businesses to discharge its employees in order of seniority during the coronavirus crisis.
The meeting continued through the afternoon with no vote at press time.
“Right to Recall” requires employers to offer positions available to workers who were laid off by that employer on or after March 4 for non-disciplinary reasons, by seniority. Employers in Los Angeles with revenues that exceeded $5 million last year would be subject to the law.
Although it was cast as a coronavirus emergency measure, this ordinance would be in effect through March 4, 2022; the city can extend it, too.
“Right of Retention” specifies that the new owner of a business that had been sold needs to retain current employees for at least 90 days. Once that period has ended, business owners can conduct an evaluation of each employee and consider them for further employment.
Businesses with collective bargaining agreements would be exempt from both ordinances.
Valley business organizations including the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, BizFed and numerous chambers of commerce oppose the ordinances, saying they are an overstep on the city’s part.
“Requiring businesses to recall employees based on seniority would make operating a business impossible during this public health and economic crisis,” a coalition of chambers and business organizations said in a letter to the Council. “This requirement would undoubtedly worsen staffing needs, as businesses would be required to wait 10 days after a recall offer has been made to an employee before being able to offer the position to another worker.”
“If you run a business in the city of L.A., you should be furious with the fact that the City Council wants to tell you how to run your business during this crisis,” Stuart Waldman, VICA president, said in a statement. “It’s even more upsetting that they are selling this as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Another business-related ordinance discussed in the meeting requires companies to pay its employees two weeks of COVID-19-related paid sick leave that coincides with a similar federal ordinance.