As with all things COVID-19 related, we once again see an unprecedented move with the passing of a temporary "right to reemployment" ordinance that did not require the mayor's signature. On June 23, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of legislature requiring San Francisco employers with 100 or more employees to "offer a right to reemployment" to certain workers who were laid off due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance was enacted on July 3, 2020 and obligates covered businesses to comply within 30 days (by August 2, 2020). It will remain in effect through September 1, 2020 unless the Board votes to extend it.
The details of this ordinance can be found here. Employers in San Francisco should be aware of the following criteria:
If you are a business that laid off employees between February 25, 2020 and July 3, 2020, you must retroactively provide notice to all previously laid-off "eligible workers" by August 2, 2020. This is true even if you already gave a previous notice. This is to inform employees of the new "right to reemployment."
Rehiring: While the ordinance is in effect, if a San Francisco business decides to hire post layoff, it is required to offer those positions to laid-off "eligible workers" when hiring for those same or "substantially similar positions" to those held by laid-off employees. Please see the ordinance for the complete definition of "substantially similar" and when seniority determines who should be rehired.
There are limited reasons when employers can refuse to rehire such as for misconduct, a previous settled severance agreement, or if someone was hired prior to the effective date of the ordinance.
Employers should also know that they must reasonably accommodate those individuals who have hardship as defined by the ordinance. Those hardships include reasons listed under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave and for the need to care for a child because the child's school is closed.
The penalties associated with this ordinance is the employee's right to file their own civil lawsuit and seek reinstatement, economic damages, and attorney's fees.
CEA is here to help! Give us a call at 800.399.5331 to review and assist you with your plan. CEA HR Advisors are informed and ready to assist with this cumbersome process and at your request, can create documents needed to comply.