If you’ve been laid off due to COVID-19, you may wonder if you have a right to be rehired as businesses begin to reopen.
In California, generally, employers are not required to rehire employees that they have laid off. However, there is now an exception for some industries in the City of Los Angeles (see below). Employment is “at-will” in California, which means that an employer can terminate you for any reason unless you have a legal employment contract in place. Likewise, as an at-will employee, you are free to leave your job at any time, for any reason.
Getting Paid Sick Leave Upon Rehire
When you are terminated, your employer is not required to pay out your mandatory paid sick leave at the end of your employment. This is unlike accrued vacation time which does get paid out at the end of your employment. However, if you are rehired by your employer within one year of your employment ending, your previously accrued and unused paid sick leave must be given back to you and be available for your use.
Los Angeles: COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance
Effective June 14, 2020, the City of Los Angeles enacted the COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance No. 186602. This ordinance gives some workers whose jobs were affected by COVID-19 the right to be rehired after being laid off from their jobs.
Who does this ordinance apply to? It applies to any City of Los Angeles employee who was laid off after March 4, 2020 and who worked at least six months for:
- An airport employer,
- A commercial property employer (maintenance, janitorial, and security services),
- An event center employer, or
- A hotel employer.
This ordinance requires employers to make a written offer of employment to laid-off workers for any available position the worker qualifies for. This ordinance does not cover managers, supervisors, confidential employees, or event center sponsorship sales employees.
California: Sweeping New Employee Recall Ordinance (2021 Update)
In 2021, a similar ordinance to the Los Angeles one listed above was passed by the California state senate. SB 93, codified as Labor Code section 2810.8, requires owners and operators of businesses in certain industries to rehire laid-off employees via a written offer of employment, regardless of changes in ownership, assets, or relocation of the business since the employee’s layoff. This ordinance applies so long as the business conducts the same or similar operations as before the pandemic. Eligible California businesses include hotels, clubs, event centers (stadiums, convention centers, etc.), airports, and building services.
Qualified workers who do not receive a rehire offer may file a lawsuit against their employer and may be entitled to lost wages, reinstatement, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
Questions About Employment? Call PARRIS
If you have questions about whether you are being treated fairly and legally by your employer, call PARRIS employment attorneys to start your free case consultation at (661) 485-2072. PARRIS has recovered over $1.9 billion for clients since 1985. View PARRIS case results here.