Today, the U.S. District Court issued an order allowing the workload provisions of the City of Santa Monica’s Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance to go into effect as planned on January 1, 2020. A hotel owner and management group sought to invalidate these provisions of the law, which strengthens workplace safety and compensation protections for Santa Monica’s 2,100 hotel housekeepers. The law received unanimous City Council support when it passed in August.

“The court has validated Santa Monica’s compassionate concern for the safety of hotel workers, whose hard labor makes possible our successful hospitality sector,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown.

Columbia Sussex Management and CW Hotel Limited Partnership filed a complaint arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional and invalid. They sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the workload provisions of the ordinance from going into effect on January 1. Judge Otis Wright’s order denies the request for preliminary injunction and finds that plaintiffs have not shown a likelihood of success on any of their claims made under the National Labor Relations Act, the dormant commerce clause, and the California Occupational Safety & Health Act.

“We are pleased by the court’s order, which affirms that the City’s lawful enhancement of protections for hotel workers employed in our community,” said City Attorney Lane Dilg.

The Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance:

Provides hotel housekeepers with safety protections to prevent against sexual violence or other threatening behavior.

Establishes daily workload maximums of 4,000 square feet for hotels with less than 40 guest rooms and 3,500 square feet for hotels with greater than 40 guest rooms, and requires a double overtime compensation rate for all hours worked in a workday when a housekeeper’s workload exceeds these maximums.

Requires training on personal rights and safety, and education to protect public health and prevent instances of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence.

Calls for hotel worker retention for a 90-day transition period in instances of a change in hotel ownership.

The ordinance takes effect on a rolling basis by provision: the worker retention provision became effective upon the effective date of the ordinance in October, the safety protections and workload/overtime provisions take effect on January 1, 2020, and training will be required by January 1, 2021.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer

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