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San Jose's New 'Opportunity to Work' Ordinance Is Now in Effect

new-law.jpgLast November, by a margin of 60-40, San Jose residents voted in favor of Ballot Measure E: the city's 'Opportunity to Work' ordinance. On March 13th, 2017, this new local law officially went into effect. It is imperative that all employers operating within the city are aware of how these regulations will impact their company. To help you get started with any questions you might have, our San Jose business law attorneys have put together some key information regarding the ordinance.

Four Questions About the San Jose Opportunity to Work Ordinance

Is My Business Affected?

The law applies to all businesses in San Jose that: 1) are subject to the city's business tax and 2) employ at least 36 workers. To be clear, those workers do not all need to employed within the city of San Jose. For example, if your company operates a location in San Jose with seven employees, but has 40 other employees working at locations outside of the city, then your seven San Jose-based employees would be affected by this law.

How Do I Comply With the Law?

The fundamental premise of the law is that some employers over-rely on part-time workers, temporary workers, seasonal workers, and outside contractors. In the view of regulators, companies may do this to avoid paying employee benefits. To counteract this alleged problem, the ordinance requires that work be offered to any qualified existing employees at the firm before new hires can be made.

Additionally, the ordinance also puts considerable burdens on employers in terms of record-keeping. Indeed, employers must now keep schedule history for at least four years. Employers should also keep records showing that they made efforts to distribute work to existing employees before they made a new hire. Failure to comply with the record keeping rules could result in an adverse inference being drawn against an employer in any future legal case.

What Are the Penalties for a Violation?

The first offense is a warning, but heavy civil penalties may be issued for any subsequent offenses. Further, the ordinance also allows for a private right of action. This means that individual employees can bring a lawsuit seeking damages if their rights were violated under the law.

What Else Should I Know?

You should be ready for a period of general uncertainty. Much of the language included in this statute is broad and somewhat vague. It is still unclear as to how strict enforcement will be and what forms it will take. All San Jose business owners and operators should keep a close watch for any new developments.

Contact Our Team Today

San Jose businesses must stay up to date with any changes in local, state or federal law. If you have any concerns about labor law compliance or any other business law issues, our skilled San Jose business law attorneys are standing by, ready to help. At Diemer, Whitman & Cardosi, LLP, we represent companies throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco and Oakland.



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