Long Beach—The Office of the Commissioner of Labor cited Terranea Resort at Rancho Palos Verdes $3.3 million for failing to offer positions to 53 employees laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic once the resort reopens, as required by the law. Employees included housekeepers, banquet servers and bartenders, junior sous chefs and massage therapists.
“These workers have invested years of service at Terranea and, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said. “The law makes it clear that workers in the hospitality and service sectors should be given priority to return to the same or similar positions when their former employer reopens.”
The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened its investigation in July 2021 after receiving reports of labor violations from Unite Here Local 11 on behalf of 14 dismissed workers. The workers claimed they had no opportunity to return to their jobs based on seniority when the hotel increased business operations in 2021. The survey included interviews with former and current workers, depositions from Terranea human resources managers and an audit of payroll records from April 16 to December 31, 2021.
The investigation determined that DH Long Point Management, LLC dba Terranea Resort violated the Right of Recall Act and cited the hotel for $3,080,000 in damages, $5,300 in civil penalties and $208,582 in assessed interest for a total of $3,293,882.
The law awards each worker whose rights are violated liquidated damages of $500 per day until the violation is corrected and civil penalties against the employer of $100 for each employee whose rights are violated. Any employee who suffers unlawful retaliation for asserting their recall rights may also be awarded back pay, pre-benefits, and reinstatement.
In addition to the issuance of the citation for liquidated damages payable to employees and civil penalties payable to the state, a Notice of Cessation of Labor Violations has been issued which orders Terranea to offer positions to employees who should have returned to work, but who still have not had this opportunity.
The right to call back law came into effect on April 16, 2021 and extends until December 31, 2024. Covered workers include employees of hotels or private clubs with 50 or more rooms, airports, service providers airport services and event centers. Also included are laid-off employees engaged in building services such as janitorial, maintenance and security services in commercial and retail buildings.
The Labor Standards Enforcement Division of the Department of Industrial Relations (California Labor Commissioner’s Office) combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.
The Office of the Commissioner of Labor launched in 2020 an interdisciplinary awareness campaign, “Reaching Every Californian”. The campaign amplifies basic protections and opens pathways to affected populations so that workers and employers understand legal protections and obligations, as well as the Commissioner of Labor’s enforcement procedures. Californians can follow the labor commissioner on Facebook and Twitter.
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Employers with questions about the requirements can contact: [email protected]