Does an employerhave any legal obligation tohonor seniority when it comes to lay-offs?

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Does an employerhave any legal obligation tohonor seniority when it comes to lay-offs?

Our company recently dropped in sales and therefore had to cut hours of operation, as well as cut the staffs hours. One girl from our store has been on-call for a week. During those 9 days we weren’t able to call her in due to low sales. So the company has decided to lay her off. She has been there roughly 3 months longer than an employee that will be staying with the company. Is there any laws about letting someone go that has been employed longer? Does it matter if they let someone go that has been there longer than someone that stays?

Asked on January 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The law says nothing about seniority, and provides no rights for seniority.

Seniority rights, if they exist, are typically guaranateed by a contract, particularly a union or collective bargaining agreement. If there is a contract providing for seniority rights, that contract is enforceable; otherwise, an employer is free to law off an employee with more seniority while retaining those with less.


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