< Back to the Mar-Apr 2020 issue

Can the City Regulate Food Trucks?

Food truck regulation

Q: A resident has asked about operating a food truck. Can our city regulate food truck operations?

LMC: Food trucks have become very popular and, yes, your city can regulate food truck operations by passing an ordinance. Many cities have adopted ordinances to regulate their operation through licensing and zoning. Cities often choose to license through their already established business licensing ordinances to verify compliance with health inspections and insurance requirements. Cities will also want to consider signage, noise, patron safety, trash disposal, and parking that will be necessary for operation. Cities may also regulate the time, place, and manner of food truck operations. Most cities with food truck regulations have at least some fee requirement ranging from $40 for a few days to around $200 for a full year. The Minnesota Department of Health is responsible for the health and safety aspects of food trucks. State statute calls them “mobile food units” and does not allow them to operate more than 21 days annually at any one place unless they have obtained approval from the regulatory authority which, in your case, would be the city. Learn more from the Minnesota Department of Health website at http://bit.ly/mdhfoodtruck.

Answered by Law Clerk Christina Van Nevel: cvannevel@lmc.org

Safety

Q: What vaccinations should we provide to our police and public works employees?

LMC: Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employers are required to provide hepatitis B vaccinations to employees who are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens as a part of their regular job duties or assigned tasks. For municipalities, this would be required for all emergency services employees, including police, fire, medical professionals, and lifeguards. This is the only vaccination that is required by law. The employer is required to pay for this three-step vaccination series. The employer must also pay for the surface antigen testing post-vaccination series when it is required, as is the case, for example, for public safety employees. Employers may choose to cover additional vaccinations. In addition, the hepatitis B vaccine must be offered to anyone after an exposure incident. This is required by OSHA as part of the post-exposure medical follow-up. So, if an employee has not received the hepatitis B vaccination series but then sustains an injury or exposure to blood or potentially infected body fluids, the treating medical provider will determine if the vaccination series is recommended as a course of treatment. Learn more from the LMC information memo at www.lmc.org/disease.

Answered by Loss Control Manager Rachel Carlson: rcarlson@lmc.org 

Hiring

Q: Our city collects information about the race, disability, and sex of employment applicants for tracking purposes. Is this an acceptable practice?

LMC: Many employers collect information about race, disability, sex, and other protected status categories in order to gauge the effectiveness of their hiring practices. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws in the area of employment practices. EEOC guidance on hiring practices states: “One way to obtain racial information and simultaneously guard against discriminatory selection is for employers to use separate forms or otherwise keep the information about an applicant’s race separate from the application. In that way, the employer can capture the information it needs but ensure that it is not used in the selection decision.” The anonymity of the information can be protected by not asking for the candidate’s name on the form and by separating it from other application materials so that decision-makers do not see it. Protected status information should not be collected unless it is being used for a legitimate purpose. Otherwise, it may be viewed as evidence the city used the information in making selection decisions. Learn more from the League’s HR Reference Manual, Chapter 2, page 28, at www.lmc.org/hiring.

Answered by Human Resources Director Laura Kushner: lkushner@lmc.org