On Thursday, Rancho Palos Verdes’ exclusive Terranea Resort agreed to pay $ 1.52 million to settle the labor law violation allegations by not offering laid-off workers their jobs when it began hiring after the slowdown in labor law. pandemic.
A state labor commissioner asked Terranea to pay a $ 3.3 million fine in March for allegedly violating legislation passed last year requiring hotels, event centers and airport hospitality and employers. cleaners to first offer positions to workers fired due to the closure of COVID-19 when jobs become available again. It was the first summons for violations of that law.
Terranea challenged the fines, saying the law was loosely worded, but agreed Thursday to settle the dispute by paying $ 1.52 million without admitting wrongdoing, according to court documents. The resort also agreed to offer work to three former employees: a banquet clerk, a laundry clerk, and a banquet clerk.
In a statement, a representative from Terranea said the resort had tried to take back all of its workers after the reopening of the business and accused “vague and poorly defined language” in the law for investigations by state regulators. .
“We believed and continue to believe we were in compliance with the law and we decided to settle for the time and expense of unnecessary litigation,” said Jessie Burns, spokesperson for Terranea.
The deal will be distributed among 57 workers – housekeepers, banquet waiters, sous chefs, massage therapists, and bartenders – who were laid off when the resort closed in March 2020. These workers were either not offered their old jobs or did not receive. a timely offer when the resort reopened in June 2020, as required by state law.
The deal means that each worker will receive an average pay of $ 26,566.67. It will be distributed based on how long workers have waited for their old jobs to be returned, while those who have waited the longest get more.
Terranea will also pay an additional $ 5,700 to the state as civil penalties.
The lawsuit against Terranea was brought by Unite Here Local 11, a Southern California union that represents hospitality workers and has been trying to unionize workers at the luxury resort for years.
“This is an extraordinary victory for the workers of Terranea, who fought to win and then to assert their right to return to work and provide for their families,” said Kurt Petersen, co-chair of Unite Here Local 11, adding that the deal sends “a powerful message” to the hospitality industry.
The settlement represents the last chapter of a years long battle between the resort’s management and its employees, many of whom have sought to unite with the help of Unite Here Local 11, which represents 32,000 employees of accommodations, airports, sports arenas and convention centers in Southern California.