BB&K Defends Fair Compensation Ordinance
Court Challenge Over Hotel Room Cleaner Wages
Best Best & Krieger LLP attorneys Richard Egger and Avi Rutschman obtained summary judgment and successfully defended a challenge to a City of Long Beach ordinance designed to ensure fair compensation for hotel room cleaners. The ordinance, adopted by Long Beach voters, requires hotel employers to pay room cleaners double-wages if they are required to clean more than 4,000 square feet in an 8-hour shift. The California Hotel & Lobbying Association argued that the ordinance is preempted by Cal/OSHA safety and health standards, and that it is impermissibly vague in violation of the California Constitution’s due process clause. The BB&K team worked closely with attorneys for Unite Here! Local 11 to defeat the challenge on cross-motions for summary judgement.
Relying on California Supreme Court precedent concerning retail food safety and health standards, the BB&K team successfully argued that, even though the ordinance did have potential health and safety benefits, it could not be preempted by Labor Code 142.3 and Cal/OSHA standards because it is fundamentally a wage compensation law. Further, the attorneys argued that the ability to enforce wage laws and regulations constituted an exercise of traditional municipal powers, and that the Labor Code severely limits Cal/OSHA’s ability to interfere with such powers. Ultimately, the Los Angeles Superior Court agreed.
BB&K and Partner Ruben Duran have provided special counsel representation to the Long Beach City Attorney for several years.