LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Thousands of former hospitality workers in Southern Nevada could be a step closer to getting their positions back.
The "Right to Return" bill (Senate Bill 386) passed through the Nevada Legislature and is headed to Gov. Steve Sisolak's desk to be signed into law. The bill gives priority to former hospitality workers laid off because of the pandemic.
The Culinary Union strongly pushed for the bill to help get many of the 30,000 still unemployed members back to their previous jobs. However, the bill will benefit many different kinds of hospitality workers across the state.
"I can just look at my kids and tell them, ‘Daddy's getting back to work pretty soon hopefully,'" Brandon Geyer said.
Geyer spent 24 years as a bartender at Main Street Station before it shut down last March. He has still not heard if his job will come back.
"Hopefully I can get back to a normal life,” Geyer said. “I had to watch every penny, dig into my savings the last year and adjust my lifestyle.”
Under the Right to Return bill, if an employer is hiring they must give priority to the previously laid off worker. That could be the same job or a similar position.
The worker has just 24 hours to accept or decline the position, but the former worker still has the opportunity to decline a position three times before they'll no longer be considered.
Matthew Seevers, a former bartender at Fiesta Henderson said he would return as soon as he gets an offer.
“Absolutely. I would love to get my job back and continue my life now," Seevers said.
The veteran bartender picked up two part time jobs to try to keep his family afloat, but said he's barely scraping by.
"Get our jobs back, our benefits and our insurance," Seevers said.
However, the uncertainty for hospitality workers like Geyer and Seevers is that their casinos are still closed. Their jobs will only come back if their employer does.
Those that opposed the bill have concerns the law would leave companies vulnerable to lawsuits if they didn't bring back an employee, or if a worker falsely claimed they've been denied employment.
The law is not just for large employers, it applies to any business with more than 30 employees.
If signed by the governor, the bill will go into law the start of July and expire August 31, 2022.