Skip to main content

What are the criterias for laying off an employee

Los Angeles, CA |

I was informed that when a company is going to layoff people they have to start with the most recent employee hired in that department. Yet I was told that the reason for my layoff was because I was the only one in the department with a most recent write up. My write up was a year ago and since then we have had several new employees. My question is, Should the company have laid off the newer employees or are they in their right to let me go based on my write up?

Attorney Answers 4


Some union collective bargaining agreements will have a last-in, first-out requirement, but outside of that context there is no legal requirement that the last person hired be the first laid off. In fact, that is rarely used as the sole criteria, if at all.

Mr. Doland is correct that your employer can make the decision to terminate you for any reason, or even for no reason. The stated reason is in no way unlawful.

I am sorry for the loss of your job. I wish you good luck in your search for a new one.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees


Unless you have a written agreement or benefit from a union contract, California is an "at will" employment state and you can be terminated for no reason at all or any reason so long as it is not based on discrimination such as race, religion, gender, etc.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

2 lawyers agree

1 comment

Kristine S Karila

Kristine S Karila


I agree. And also, an employee cannot be laid off due to retaliation for the employee's acts of whistleblowing (advising a governmental agency of the company's violations of the law) or for having asserted the employee's own legal rights (example: overtime pay, etc.) There is not legal requirement that the most recently hired employees be laid off before those who have been with the company longer.


Mr. Doland is right. California employment is at will and an employer can fire you for any reason just as long as its not an illegal reason such as race, gender, disability,etc..

My suggestion: call an employment law lawyer for a consultation.

You are welcome to call Ms. Johns' offices for a free or low cost consultation at (866) 402-4038. Please note that Ms. Johns is a lawyer although she is not your lawyer unless you have signed a written fee or letter agreement confirming her office's representation of you. This email does not otherwise constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.

Mark as helpful


Many employers will choose to lay off more recently hired employees first, in part to maintain (and acknowledge) the long-time employees' loyalty, and in part because laying off more recent hires makes charging the employer with discrimination very difficult.

But, as everyone else has pointed out, they have an obligation to lay off the most recent hires first if a union contract requires it.

Mark as helpful

Lawsuits and disputes topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics