New San Francisco Laws Provides a “Right To Reemployment” for Some Pandemic Employees

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors decided in June 2020 to pass an ordinance to help the community during the COVID-19 healthcare crises. The law went into effect after the Mayor declined to sign it. The ordinance, now law, applies to employers who have more than 100 employees. The law applies through September 1, 2020 and maybe extended beyond that date depending on the length and severity of the pandemic.

There are retroactive requirements that covered employers must meet.

The general requirements

The key parts of the new ordinance/law are:

  • The covered employers are for-profit business or non-profits business based in San Francisco as of 2/25/2020. Hospitals, pharmacy, and biotech companies and some other health companies are exempted for the law’s requirements.
  • A layoff is defined as laying off 10 or more employees over a 30-day time frame. The layoff must be due to funding issues or work availability issues because of the COVID-10 pandemic declarations and SF shelter-in place orders.
  • Employers, while the law is operative, must proper notice to the workers they are laying off of their rehire rights (due to the law), the date of the layoff, other informational criteria. This requirement applies to employees who have been with the employer for 90 days or more.
  • Additional notice requirements also apply depending on the date of the layoff so that workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic are properly notified
  • Employers must keep appropriate records regarding the layoff for at least two years.
  • Companies that do hire must give priority to those workers who were laid off for the same job position or for “substantially similar’ jobs. The law provides an expansive definition of “substantially similar.”
  • There are some reasons employers can deny rehiring a covered worker such as misconduct, a binding severance agreement, or other limited conditions.
  • Notice of the opportunity to be rehired should be by email or telephone. Otherwise, courier and certified mail notice can be used if done in a timely manner.

Employers also need to provide reasonable accommodations if there is a family care hardship such as school closure.

Employees may file a civil lawsuit to

  • Seek reemployment
  • Wage loss
  • Legal fees

At the California Law Offices of Stephen A. Danz and Associates, we provide aggressive legal representation to workers who have been terminated from their job, suffered discrimination, need to understand their severance rights, discover fraud, and for many other employee rights issues. To review your employee rights, call us at 877-789-9707 or fill out our online contact form to make an appointment. Se habla espanol.