Can Laid Off Workers (During COIVD-19) Get Their Jobs Back?

California workers laid off during the pandemic just got a little boost of hope. On April 16, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 93 into law, which went into effect immediately. The law requires employers to give rehire preference to qualified workers laid off during the pandemic.

This is good news for employees laid off in industries hit hard by the pandemic: hospitality, airports, private clubs, restaurants and hotels.

Keep reading this article to learn a little about this new California law. If you were laid off during the pandemic, or you are experiencing another type of employment issue such as harassment or retaliationcall our office to schedule a consultation.

What This New Law Says (Senate Bill 93)

Senate Bill 93 updates Labor Code §2810.8. The law states that an employer is required:

“To offer its laid-off employees specified information about job positions that become available for which the laid-off employees are qualified, and to offer positions to those laid-off employees based on a preference system, in accordance with specified timelines and procedures.”

Senate Bill 93

For purposes of this law a “laid off employee” is anyone who was employed for six months or more in the 12 months before January 1 2020, and whose separation was related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Does the Law Apply to You?

Simply put, if you were terminated because of the pandemic, you could be legally entitled to your old position. Types of layoffs covered by this statute include:

  • Downsizing
  • An order to close from a government agency
  • A lack of business
  • Other non-disciplinary reasons

What if Multiple Laid Off Employees Qualify for a Single Position?

If two laid off employees are entitled to the same position, the employer shall offer the position to the laid-off employee with the greatest length of service.

The law, as currently written, will remain in effect until December 31, 2024.

What You Should Do if Your Employer is Hiring Again but Won’t Consider You for Your Old Position

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE aka Labor Board) shall have exclusive jurisdiction to enforce this new law. So, if your employer refused to rehire you for a job that you were laid off of, you should contact the DLSE and file a claim.

The DLSE has the authority to award aggrieved employees the following:

  • Hiring and reinstatement rights
  • Front pay or back pay for each day during which the violation continues
  • Value of the benefits the laid-off employee would have received under the employer’s benefit plan

We hope this article has been helpful. Take care!

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