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?
Employment / Labor Attorney
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.
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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 avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Family Law Attorney
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.
Real Estate Attorney
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.