A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court ruling against the ERISA Industry Committee’s (ERIC) lawsuit, which alleged the Seattle Hotel Worker Ordinance related to health care, violates ERISA preemption (opinion found here). The law went into effect for large hotel employers in July of 2020. ERIC has not announced whether it will seek a rehearing before an 11 judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

We received one inquiry from a news outlet that primarily covers court issues. We directed them to ERIC for comment on the case, but provided the following statement:

“The Seattle Hotel Association wants to make clear that hotels and the ancillary businesses that serve hotels have been complying with this and will continue to comply, despite a drop in revenue over the past year that has put many on the edge of closure.

“The greatest need we have right now for our team members is access to the vaccine. They have worked throughout the pandemic, providing essential service for everyone from first responders to people experiencing homelessness. And yet they were excluded from other essential workers in vaccine access. We ask the Mayor and the Council to help us ensure our hotel workers are healthy and safe by advocating for equitable vaccine access for our industry.

“Hotels in Seattle have been the most impacted on the entire west coast for the last year with occupancies and revenues down almost 80%. The downtown core in particular has been significantly affected. What we need now is the council and mayor to provide relief so our industry can actually rebuild and continue to provide thousands of jobs in Seattle”

Seattle City Council Insight blog covered the ruling yesterday and provided a good summary of the case, which can be found here.

We will provide more information as it becomes available.