Navigating Layoffs: When to Consult an Employment Lawyer

In the past couple of years, the global workforce has faced increasing instability as tech companies adjust structures in response to fluctuating economic conditions. Following downsizing efforts at Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), Twitter (now X), and Lyft, Tesla recently announced a reduction of over 3,300 positions in California. Since January 2024, San Francisco alone has lost 21,000 jobs.

Peloton, Lyft, and Twitter, Meta recently topped the charts by announcing a reduction of 11,000 positions, marking the biggest layoff in the tech industry this year. Amazon and Microsoft also joined the trend, with plans to significantly reduce their staff numbers. The widespread layoffs have rightfully left many workers feeling shocked and upset. It is understandable that some are questioning the legality of their dismissals and whether they should seek legal recourse for wrongful termination.

In this post, our California employment attorneys provide guidance on the actions you can take if you find yourself dismissed from your job unlawfully. While the “at-will” principle allows organizations to let anyone go, they still must adhere to the state and federal employment laws. If your employer failed to do this, Contáctenos to learn about your options.

👉Lea también: 5 razones para llamar a un abogado laboral – Hershey Law

Were You Given the WARN Notice?

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act – or the WARN Act – requires some employers to give their employees advance notice before mass layoffs or plant closing. A mass layoff in California is defined as a reduction in force that is not due to a physical closure or relocation, but because of:

  • A company facing financial difficulties because of decreased demand for products or services, loss of funding, or broader economic downturns;
  • A company restructuring its operations;
  • A company adopting automation and new technologies to replace jobs;
  • A company merging or being acquired by another.

Nota: If a company relocates its operations to a different site and the move affects at least 50 employees who are not offered a transfer to the new location within a reasonable commuting distance, this can trigger the California WARN notice requirement.

The idea is to give affected employees time to prepare, look for new jobs, or arrange for training to switch careers. The California WARN Act applies to companies with 75 or more employees, whether they are full-time or part-time. This is different from the federal WARN Act, which applies to companies with 100 or more full-time employees.

If your company is laying off 50 or more employees within a 30-day period, they need to give a WARN notice as per California’s employment laws. This includes situations where the parent company is closing down a part of its business or moving it somewhere else. The notice should be given at least 60 calendar days before the company layoffs happen. If your company didn’t provide the required written notice, they might owe you back pay and benefits for each day they were supposed to give you notice, up to 60 days.

When Should You Contact an Employment Lawyer for Layoffs?

If you are handed a layoff notice and it comes as a complete surprise or with minimal explanation, consider contacting us at Hershey Law within the next 24 to 48 hours. If you are given acuerdos de indemnizacion, releases, or any paperwork to sign, do not sign on the spot. Instead, tell your employer you need time to review the documents. Contact our team of Los Angeles employment attorneys as soon as you receive these documents — ideally, schedule a consultation within a day or two.

In case you are pressured to sign, politely explain that you need sufficient time to review the documents thoroughly. You can also mention that you need to consult with the local employment lawyers before signing. This is a common practice and shows that you are being prudent, not obstructive.

You have the right to review and consider a severance agreement before signing. For agreements related to discrimination claims in California, you have at least 21 days to consider the offer. There’s no mandatory timeframe for other employment contracts, but asking for a few days to a week is reasonable. If your supervisor or HR manager continues to insist or applies undue pressure, note the date, time, and details of that conversation. This can be useful if any legal issues arise later.

It is also wise to contact us as soon as you become aware of the following issues:

  • You were not given the required notice under California’s WARN Act, or if you suspect discriminación (based on your age, race, gender, religion, medical history, pregnancy, or disability) or represalias (based on a recent complaint you made or a whistleblowing incident you were involved in).
  • You receive your final paycheck and notice discrepancies (such as missing overtime, bonus, or accrued vacation pay).
  • You feel rushed or intimidated at any point by your employer to make decisions related to your layoff.

These issues can complicate your layoff and may give you grounds for a lawsuit. At Hershey Law, we are solely dedicated to the Fair Labor Standards Act and employment law in California, which means we can help you negotiate better terms if possible and make sure that any agreements you enter into are in your best interest.

👉Lea también: What Happens If You Don’t Sign a Severance Agreement?

10 Reasons To Choose Hershey Law

If you are concerned about how your employment termination is being handled, or if you just want to be sure everything is in order, speaking to an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer can give you peace of mind. We at Ley de Hershey offer free case reviews where you can discuss your situation and decide if further legal assistance is necessary – you have nothing to lose.

  • We can help negotiate better severance terms on your behalf, including increased severance pay, lump-sum payments, positive reference, reinstatement rights, and outplacement services (resume assistance, career coaching, job search help).
  • We will make sure your final paycheck includes unpaid bonuses or unused vacation days, and that it is provided immediately at the time of termination or within 72 hours if you resign without notice (as per the law).
  • We can negotiate that your employment record reflects a layoff rather than a termination.
  • We can help extend your health benefits beyond the standard duration.
  • We can negotiate the terms of your non-compete clause so it does not overly restrict your future job opportunities.
  • We can guide you through the process of applying for unemployment benefits and handle any appeals if your application is denied.

If there are signs that the layoff was discriminatory, we may file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California Civil Rights Department on your behalf and gather testimonies or employment records to prove a pattern of discrimination.

If you want to bring a lawsuit and demand financial restitution (lost wages, benefits, and more), this notice needs to be filed within 180 days after you were fired, so take action today. To learn more, call our employment law firm at (310) 929-2190 or contáctenos en línea.