The luxury Terranea resort in Rancho Palos Verdes agreed on Thursday to pay $1.52 million to settle charges of violating labor laws by failing to provide jobs to workers who were laid off when they began re-employment after the slowdown in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State Labor Commissioner charged Terranea $3.3 million in March for violating a law adopted last year that requires hotels, event centers, and airport hospitality and cleaning employers to offer positions first to workers laid off due to the COVID-19 lockdown. urged to impose a fine. The task becomes available again. It was the first subpoena for a violation of that law.
Terranea appealed the fine, agreeing on Thursday to settle the dispute by paying $1.52 million without admitting wrongdoing, although court records show that the law is vaguely worded. The resort has also agreed to provide jobs to three former employees (banquet server, laundry staff and banquet housekeeper).
In a statement, Terranea representatives said the resort had attempted to re-employ all its staff after business reopened and condemned the law’s “ambiguous and misunderstood language” over an investigation by state regulators.
Terranea spokesperson Jessie Burns said: “We believe and continue to believe that we are abiding by the law and have reached an agreement to avoid the time and cost of unnecessary litigation.
The settlement will be distributed among 57 workers, including housekeepers, banquet servers, sous chefs, massage therapists and bartenders, who were fired when the resort closed in March 2020. In a timely manner under state law when the resort reopened in June 2020.
The settlement means that each worker will receive an average payout of $26,566.67. It is distributed according to how long the worker waited to be offered a previous job, with the worker who waited the longest being paid the most.
Terranea will also pay an additional $5,700 to the state in civil fines.
The lawsuit against Terranea was pursued by Unite Here Local 11, a Southern California union representing hospitality workers, who over the years has been trying to unionize the workers of this luxury resort.
“This is a huge win for Terrania workers fighting for victory,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11. Sends a “strong message” to the hospitality industry.
This agreement represents the latest chapter in a years-long battle between resort management and staff. Many of these have been trying to unionize with the help of Unite Here Local 11, which represents 32,000 staff at hospitality, airports, sports venues and convention centers. in Southern California.