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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am a food server with a company in California. Due to lack

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I am a food server with a company in California. Due to lack of business there are talks about laying off employees. Does seniority play a role in the process? (I have been a employee in good standing for over thirty years in the same dept) SO I am asking if new servers have been hired in the past year. Would they be the first to go?


Good afternoon and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear that your company is laying people off and completely understand your concerns.

To answer your question directly, there is unfortunately no law which mandates private sector employers to layoff employees in reverse order of seniority. This would be required only if you had a contractor or collective bargaining agreement which specifically so required.

The above noted, I can tell you based on my experience assisting countless number of employers with regard to mass layoffs that seniority is almost always considered when determining who to retain and who to let go. Employers value experience. There is simply no way to replace years of experience with the company or in the industry, and so more senior employees are usually retained in favor of newer hires.

To reiterate, there is no law that requires employers to consider seniority when determining who to retain, and the only circumstance in which an employer would be legally obligated to give priority to more senior employees would be if you had a contract or collective bargaining agreement which specifically so required. That said, seniority is usually the most important factor to employers in evaluating who to lay off, and so while you cannot legally demand your seniority to be considered, you can virtually count on the fact that it will be.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.

Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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