City Council Meeting: August 27, 2019 Santa Monica, California
ORDINANCE NUMBER _________ (CCS)
(City Council Series)
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
SANTA MONICA ADOPTING SANTA MONICA MUNICIPAL CODE CHAPTER 4.67
TO ENHANCE PROTECTION OF HOTEL WORKERS
IN THE LOCAL HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
WHEREAS, by letter dated September 13, 2018, the Commission on the Status of
Women requested the City Council of the City of Santa Monica to adopt legislation to
protect hotel workers from physical violence, provide them fair compensation, and require
education and training to enable hotel workers to protect their own rights and safety as
well as public health and safety; and
WHEREAS, on October 23, 2018, the City Council directed staff to prepare an
ordinance for Council consideration based on all of the elements included in the
Commission on the Status of Women’s letter; and
WHEREAS, on August 13, 2019, the City Council directed staff to include a worker
retention policy in the ordinance prepared for Council consideration; and
WHEREAS, other cities in California and other states have adopted local
legislation to protect the safety and security and improve working conditions of hotel
employees within their respective jurisdictions; and
WHEREAS, hotel workers are vital contributors to the Santa Monica community
and the hospitality industry is an essential component of the City’s economy; and2
WHEREAS, hotel workers who work by themselves in guest rooms are vulnerable
to crimes and other threatening behavior, including sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, ensuring that hotel workers are equipped with personal security
devices and supported in their ability to report criminal and threatening behavior to the
proper authorities will promote their personal safety and improve public safety overall;
WHEREAS, hotel workers are subject to being assigned overly burdensome
workloads and unexpected overtime; and
WHEREAS, ensuring that hotel workers receive fair compensation when their work
assignments exceed proscribed limits will promote the public interest and enable hotel
workers to receive fair pay for honest work, to perform their work in a manner that
adequately protects their personal wellbeing, and to meet personal and family obligations;
WHEREAS, changes in ownership, control, or operation of hotels occur frequently
in the hotel industry and can trigger mass layoffs of hotel workers and displace employees
who are skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced in providing a safe, clean, and
enjoyable experience for the millions of visitors who come to Santa Monica each year;
WHEREAS, ensuring that hotel workers have an opportunity to continue working
for a hotel upon change in hotel ownership, control, or operation will prevent both
unnecessary disruption to the labor market and increased demands on social services
provided by the City, and thereby maintain the stability and high level of service in the
hospitality and tourism businesses in the City, which promotes the public welfare; and 3
WHEREAS, hotel workers are uniquely positioned to identify and report potential
threats or crimes, including potential instances of human trafficking, domestic and sexual
violence, and the presence of suspicious materials that may be linked to other potential
criminal activity; and
WHEREAS, thorough housekeeping services are essential to preventing and
avoiding the spread of disease and pests that pose potential risks to public health and the
enjoyment of guests; and
WHEREAS, ensuring that hotel workers are provided with adequate training and
education to establish a baseline level of knowledge on key issues affecting the public
and their own wellbeing will ensure that hotel workers and visitors alike have safe and
healthy experiences during their time in Santa Monica; and
WHEREAS, given that tourism is one of the largest industries in the City and in the
entire region, establishing the foregoing safety and security measures, fair compensation,
workforce stability, training and education, and worker retention standards for hotel
workers will not only improve worker safety and working conditions, but also benefit the
local and regional economy overall, and thereby promote the public health, safety, and
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA
DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Santa Monica Municipal Code Chapter 4.67 is hereby adopted to
read as follows:
Chapter 4.67 HOTEL WORKER PROTECTION
As used in this chapter:
(a) “Additional bed room” means a guest room with an additional bed or beds
other than those regularly within the guest room, such as a cot or rollaway bed.
(b) “Adverse employment action” means an action that detrimentally and
materially affects the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
(c) “Affected hotel” means: (1) in the event of a change in control as defined in
(c)(1) below, the hotel or discrete portion of the hotel that has been the subject of the
change in control and remains in operation following the chance in control; or (2) in the
event of a change in control as defined in (c)(2) below, the hotel that remains in operation
following the change in control of that hotel.
(d) “Change in control” means (1) any sale, assignment, transfer, contribution,
or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets used in the operation of a
hotel or a discrete portion of the hotel that continues in operation as a hotel; or (2) a
controlling interest (including by consolidation, merger, or reorganization) of a hotel
employer or any person who controls a hotel employer. For purposes of this chapter, a
change in control shall be defined to occur on the date of execution of the document
effectuating the change in control.5
(e) “Checkout room” means a guest room to be cleaned by a hotel worker due
to the departure of the guest assigned to that room.
(f) “City” means the City of Santa Monica.
(g) “Eligible hotel worker” means a hotel worker employed by an incumbent
hotel employer at the time of a change in control and who has been so employed for at
least two months prior to the change in control.
(h) “Emergency” means an immediate threat to public safety or of substantial
risk of property loss or destruction.
(i) “Guest” means a registered guest of a hotel, a person occupying a guest
room with a registered guest, or a visitor invited to a guest room by a registered guest or
other person occupying a guest room.
(j) “Guest room” means any room or suite of rooms intended to be used by a
guest of a hotel for sleeping purposes.
(k) “Hotel” means an establishment that provides temporary lodging in the form
of overnight accommodations in guest rooms to transient patrons who maintain a
permanent place of residence elsewhere for payment for periods of 30 consecutive
calendar days or less, and may provide additional services, such as conference and
meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, or recreation facilities available to guests or to the
general public. “Hotel” includes motor lodges, motels, apartment hotels, and tourist courts
meeting the definition set forth above. “Hotel” also includes any contracted, leased or
sublet premises operated in conjunction with a hotel or that is used for the primary
purpose of providing services at a hotel. “Hotel” does not include a hostel, which is a
lodging facility primarily characterized by dormitory-style accommodations, shared 6
bathrooms, and reservations of beds rather than rooms. “Hotel” also does not include
corporate housing, rooming houses, boarding houses, or private residential clubs, singleroom occupancy housing, vacation rentals, or bed and breakfast establishments within a
(l) “Hotel employer” means any person who owns, controls, or operates a hotel
in the City, and includes any person or contractor acting as an agent of a hotel employer
in a managerial, supervisory, or confidential capacity.
(m) “Hotel worker” means any person who is employed by a hotel employer to
provide services at a hotel. “Hotel worker” does not include a managerial, supervisory or
(n) “Hotel worker retention period” means the period of time beginning on the
date of a change in control and extending to 90 days from the first date that an affected
hotel is open to the public after a change in control.
(o) “Incumbent hotel employer” means a hotel employer who owns, controls, or
operates a hotel prior to a change in control of the hotel or of a discrete portion of the
hotel that continues to operate as a hotel after the change in control.
(p) “Personal security device” means a portable emergency contact device,
including but not limited to a panic button, that is designed so that a hotel worker can
quickly and easily activate such device to summon to the hotel worker’s location prompt
assistance by a hotel security officer, manager or supervisory hotel staff member
designated by a hotel employer.
(q) “Room attendant” means a hotel worker whose principal duties are to clean
and put in order guest rooms in a hotel.7
(r) “Successor hotel employer” means a hotel employer who owns, controls, or
operates a hotel after a change in control.
(s) “Violent or threatening conduct” means: (1) any conduct that involves the
use of physical violence or that would reasonably be interpreted as conveying a threat
of the use of physical violence, and includes but is not limited to rape, assault (including
sexual assault), and battery (including sexual battery), as defined by the California
Penal Code, as well as any threat or attempt to commit such an act; or (2) any sexual
conduct, or solicitation to engage in sexual conduct, directed by a guest at a hotel
worker without the consent of the hotel worker and includes, but is not limited to,
indecent exposure as defined by the California Penal Code.
(t) “Workday” means any consecutive 24-hour period commencing at the same
time each calendar day.
4.67.020 Measures to protect hotel workers from violent or threatening conduct.
(a) Personal security devices.
(1) A hotel employer shall provide a personal security device to each
hotel worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other hotel
employees are not present in the guest room or restroom facility. The personal
security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker.
(2) A hotel worker may activate a personal security device whenever a
hotel worker reasonably believes that violent or threatening conduct or an
emergency is occurring in the hotel worker’s presence. Immediately prior to or
upon activating the device, the hotel worker may cease work and leave the
immediate area of danger to await assistance. No hotel worker shall be subject to 8
an adverse employment action for activating a personal security device or for
ceasing work to await assistance absent clear and convincing evidence that the
hotel worker knowingly and intentionally made a false claim of emergency.
(3) A hotel employer shall assign a security guard, manager or
supervisory hotel staff member to provide immediate on-scene assistance in the
event that a personal security device is activated.
(b) Hotel workers’ rights. A hotel worker who brings to the attention of a hotel
employer violent or threatening conduct by a hotel guest shall be afforded the following
(1) A hotel employer shall immediately allow a hotel worker sufficient
paid time to report the violent or threatening conduct to a law enforcement agency
and to consult with a counselor or advisor of the hotel worker’s choice.
(2) A hotel employer shall not prevent, or attempt to prevent, a hotel
worker from reporting violent or threatening conduct to a law enforcement agency.
(3) A hotel employer shall not take or threaten to take any adverse
employment action against a hotel worker based on the hotel worker’s decision not
to report violent or threatening conduct to a law enforcement agency.
(4) Upon request by a hotel worker, a hotel employer shall provide
reasonable accommodations to a hotel worker who has been subjected to violent
or threatening conduct. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not
limited to, a modified work schedule, reassignment to a vacant position, or other
reasonable adjustment to job structure, workplace facility, or work requirements.9
(c) Notice. A hotel employer shall place on the back of the entrance door to
each guest room and restroom facility in a hotel a sign written in a font size of no less
than 18 points, that includes the heading “The Law Protects Hotel Workers From
Threatening Behavior,” provides a citation to this chapter of the Santa Monica Municipal
Code, and notifies guests that the hotel employer provides personal security devices to
(d) Training. A hotel employer shall provide training to its hotel workers
regarding how to use and maintain a personal security device, the hotel employer’s
protocol for responding to activation of a personal security device, and the rights of hotel
workers and obligations of the hotel employer as set forth in this section. Such training
shall be provided to hotel workers on the later of the effective date of this chapter or within
one month of the hotel worker’s date of hire.
4.67.030 Measures to provide fair compensation for workload.
(a) Workload limitation. A hotel employer shall not require a room attendant
to clean rooms amounting to a total of more than 4,000 square feet of floor space in any
workday, unless the hotel employer pays the room attendant one and a half times the
room attendant’s regular rate of pay for each and every hour worked during the workday.
If a room attendant works less than eight hours in a workday, the maximum floor space
set forth in this subsection shall be reduced on a prorated basis. If a room attendant is
assigned to clean seven or more checkout or additional bed rooms during a workday,
each such checkout or additional bed room shall for purposes of this subsection count as
500 square feet, regardless of the actual square footage of each room. The limitations
contained herein apply to any combination of spaces, including guest rooms, meeting 10
rooms, and other rooms within the hotel, and apply regardless of the furniture, equipment,
or amenities in such rooms.
(b) Voluntary overtime. A hotel employer shall not require or permit a hotel
worker to work more than 10 hours in a workday unless the hotel worker consents in
writing to do so. A hotel worker’s consent shall not be valid unless the hotel employer has
advised the hotel worker in writing seven days prior to the hotel worker’s consent that the
hotel worker may decline to work more than 10 hours in a workday and that the hotel
employer will not subject the hotel worker to any adverse employment action for declining
to work more than 10 hours in a workday. This subsection shall not apply in the event of
(c) Preservation of records. Each hotel employer shall maintain for at least
two years a record of each room attendant’s name, rate of pay, pay received, rooms
cleaned or total square footage cleaned for each workday, overtime hours worked for
each workday, and any written consents provided pursuant to subdivision (b) above. A
hotel employer shall make these records available for inspection and copying to any hotel
worker or hotel worker’s employee representative, except that the names and other
personally identifying information of individual hotel workers shall be redacted except to
the extent that the records identify the hotel worker who is making the request.
4.67.040 Notice of change in control.
(a) Within five days of a change in control, a successor hotel employer shall
post written notice of the change in control at the location of the affected hotel. This
written notice shall remain posted during any closure of the affected hotel and for six
months following the first date on which the affected hotel is open to the public under 11
the successor hotel employer.
(b) This written notice shall include, but not be limited to, the name and
contact information of the incumbent hotel employer, the name and contact information
of the successor hotel employer, and the effective date of the change in control.
(c) This written notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place at the affected
hotel and shall be readily visible to eligible hotel workers, other employees, and
applicants for employment.
4.67.050 Hotel worker retention.
(a) Within 15 days of a change in control, an incumbent hotel employer shall
provide a successor hotel employer with a list of eligible hotel workers. This list shall
include the name, date of hire, and job classification of each eligible hotel worker. A
successor hotel employer shall be required to maintain and hire from this list during the
hotel worker retention period.
(b) A successor hotel employer shall, during the hotel worker retention period,
offer each eligible hotel worker employment for no less than 90 days, except that:
(1) A successor hotel employer shall not be required to offer
employment to an eligible hotel worker if the successor hotel employer has
reasonable and substantiated cause not to retain that eligible hotel worker based
on that eligible hotel worker’s individual performance or conduct while employed
by the incumbent hotel employer; and
(2) If a successor hotel employer determines during the hotel worker
retention period that it requires fewer hotel workers than were required by the
incumbent hotel employer, the successor hotel employer shall retain eligible hotel 12
workers pursuant to the terms of a relevant collective bargaining agreement, if any,
or by seniority and experience within each job classification to the extent that
comparable job classifications exist.
(c) An eligible hotel worker retained pursuant to this section shall be employed
under terms and conditions established by the successor hotel employer as required by
law and shall not be discharged except for good cause based on individual performance
(d) An offer of employment made pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be made in
writing and shall remain open for at least ten business days from the date of the offer.
(e) A successor hotel employer shall retain written verification of each offer of
employment made pursuant to subdivision (b). This verification shall include the name,
address, date of hire, and job classification of the eligible hotel worker to whom the offer
was made. A successor hotel employer shall retain the required verification for no less
than three years from the date the offer is made.
(f) At the end of the hotel worker retention period, a successor hotel employer
shall provide each hotel worker retained pursuant to this section with a written
performance evaluation. If the hotel worker’s performance was satisfactory, the successor
hotel employer shall consider offering the hotel worker continued employment under the
terms and conditions established by the successor hotel employer and as required by
law. A successor hotel employer shall retain the written performance evaluation required
under this subsection for no less than three years from the date it is issued. 13
(g) The rights to retention set forth in this section do not apply to any
managerial, supervisory, or confidential employee and do not include the right to retain
any supervisory or management responsibility.
4.67.060 Public housekeeping training.
(a) The City manager, or designee, shall establish a process whereby an
organization may become certified by the City as a “Public Housekeeping Training
(b) In order to become certified as a Public Housekeeping Training
Organization, an organization shall meet requirements set forth by the City manager, or
designee, that shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) A Public Housekeeping Training Organization must have
experience providing training to hotel workers or immigrant low-wage workers,
utilize interactive teaching strategies that engage across multiple literacy levels,
and provide trainers and educators who are culturally competent and fluent in the
language or languages that hotel workers understand.
(2) A Public Housekeeping Training Organization shall offer a “Public
Housekeeping Training Program” that includes no less than six hours of training,
including live and interactive instruction, on the following elements, except that
the City manager, or designee, may determine that any element below is
separately and sufficiently required by State or local law, in which case the
element may be eliminated and the total training time reduced accordingly:
(A) hotel worker rights and hotel employer responsibilities under
this chapter and Chapter 4.63 of this Code;14
(B) best practices for identifying and responding to suspected
instances of human trafficking, domestic violence, or violent or threatening
(C) best practices for effective cleaning techniques to prevent
the spread of disease;
(D) best practices for identifying and avoiding insect or vermin
(E) best practices for identifying and responding to the presence
of other potential criminal activity.
(3) A Public Housekeeping Training Organization may coordinate with
a hotel employer to ensure that training content aligns where appropriate with the
hotel employer’s policies and procedures. Ultimate discretion regarding training
content shall remain with the Public Housekeeping Training Organization, subject
to requirements set forth by the City manager, or designee.
(4) A Public Housekeeping Training Organization shall administer a
“Public Housekeeping Examination” to hotel workers who complete its training
program. The Public Housekeeping Examination shall test basic proficiency in
the required training elements.
(5) A Public Housekeeping Training Organization shall promptly issue
a “Public Housekeeping Certificate” to any person who successfully completes its
Public Housekeeping Training Program and Public Housekeeping Examination.
A Public Housekeeping Certificate shall be valid for a period of five years.15
(6) A Public Housekeeping Training Organization shall offer a right of
review to an individual who completes the Public Housekeeping Training
Program but does not successfully complete the Public Housekeeping
(c) A hotel employer shall contract with a certified Public Housekeeping
Training Organization to, no less than annually, conduct a Public Housekeeping
Training Program, administer a Public Housekeeping Examination, and issue a Public
Housekeeping Certificate to each person who has successfully completed the Public
Housekeeping Training Program and Public Housekeeping Examination. A hotel
employer shall document compliance with the training requirement set forth in this
section by completing and signing a form as required by the City to certify that the
training was conducted. A Public Housekeeping Training Organization that provides
such a training shall submit a report to the City within five days of the training to
document the date on which the training was held and the names of all hotel workers
who received Public Housekeeping Certificates.
(d) No hotel employer shall employ a hotel worker to work as a room
attendant for more than 120 days unless the hotel worker presents the hotel employer
with a valid Public Housekeeping Certificate. This subsection shall become effective
one year from the effective date of this chapter.
(e) Each hotel employer shall retain records sufficient to demonstrate
compliance with this section, including a copy of a valid Public Housekeeping Certificate
for each hotel worker then assigned to work as a room attendant.16
4.67.070 Limited waiver for certain hotel employers.
(a) The City manager, or designee, shall grant a waiver from the requirements
of this chapter to any hotel employer who demonstrates that compliance with this chapter
would require the hotel employer, in order to avoid bankruptcy or a shutdown of the hotel
employer’s hotel, to reduce its workforce by more than 20 percent or curtail its hotel
workers’ total hours by more than 30 percent. The City manager, or designee, shall grant
such a waiver only after reviewing a hotel employer’s financial condition at the hotel
employer’s expense. A waiver granted under this section shall be valid for no more than
one year. A determination by the City manager, or designee, to grant or deny a request
for waiver under this section may be appealed to a hearing examiner pursuant to Chapter
6.16 of this Code.
(b) Prior to submitting a waiver application pursuant to this section, a hotel
employer shall provide written notice of the waiver application to all hotel workers
employed by the hotel employer. Within three days of receiving a waiver determination
from the City manager, or designee, under this section, a hotel employer shall provide
written notice of the determination to all hotel workers employed by the hotel employer. 17
A hotel employer shall provide written notice of the hotel workers’ rights set forth
in this chapter to each hotel worker at the time of hire or on the effective date of this
chapter, whichever is later. Such written notice shall be provided in English, Spanish and
any other language spoken by five percent or more of the hotel workers employed by the
4.67.090 Retaliatory action prohibited.
No person shall take an adverse employment action against a hotel worker for
exercising rights protected under this chapter. There shall be a rebuttable presumption
that an adverse employment action taken against a hotel worker within 90 days of the
hotel worker’s exercise of rights under this chapter was taken in retaliation for the exercise
of such rights.
4.67.100 Administrative regulations.
The City manager, or designee, is authorized to adopt administrative regulations
that are consistent with and in furtherance of the provisions of this chapter. Violations of
the administrative regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall constitute violations
of this chapter and shall subject the violator to the penalties set forth in this chapter.
4.67.110 Supersession by collective bargaining agreement.
The provisions of sections 4.67.030, 4.67.040, and 4.67.050, or any part thereof,
may be waived pursuant to a bona fide collective bargaining agreement, but only if the
waiver is expressly set forth in clear and unambiguous written terms. Neither party to a
collective bargaining relationship may waive or supersede any provision of this chapter
by means of unilaterally imposed terms and conditions of employment. 18
4.67.120 Civil remedies.
(a) Civil action. The City or any aggrieved person may enforce the provisions
of this chapter by means of a civil action.
(b) Injunction. Any person who commits an act, proposes to commit an act,
or engages in any pattern or practice that violates this chapter may be enjoined therefrom
by a court of competent jurisdiction. An action for injunction under this subsection may
be brought by any aggrieved person, by the City Attorney, or by any person or entity who
will fairly and adequately represent the interests of an aggrieved person or persons.
(c) Damages and penalties. Any person who violates the provisions of this
chapter is liable for any actual damages suffered by any aggrieved person or for statutory
damages up to the amount of $100 per aggrieved person per day, except that statutory
damages for failure to maintain records shall not exceed $1,000 per day in total. For
willful violations, the amount of monies and penalties to be paid under this subsection
shall be trebled.
(d) Attorneys’ fees and costs. In a civil action brought under this section, the
court may, at its discretion, award the prevailing party reasonable attorneys’ fees and
costs, including expert witness fees.
(e) Cumulative remedies. The remedies set forth in this chapter are
cumulative. Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as restricting, precluding, or
otherwise limiting a separate or concurrent criminal prosecution under this Code or State
4.67.130 Effective date.
This chapter shall become effective on January 1, 2020. 19
SECTION 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this
Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any
court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining
portions of this Ordinance. The City Council hereby declares that it would have passed
this Ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase not
declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any portion of the ordinance
would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.
SECTION 3. The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of
this Ordinance. The City Clerk shall cause the same to be published once in the official
newspaper within 15 days after its adoption.
APPROVED AS TO FORM: