Certain California Industries Mandate “Right to Recall” of Employees

With the United States starting to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses and industries are opening their doors and bringing back employees laid off over the last year. As customers are returning, employers have the ability to determine which, if any, employees to recall for their former jobs, but a new law in California has instituted the “right to recall” in certain industries in order to protect workers. If you are part of an industry that falls under the new right to recall law but your employer skipped over you in the rehiring process, you may have a claim for damages. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact an experienced employment lawyer near you today.

What is a “Right to Recall” Ordinance?

A right to recall ordinance is a law that mandates employers to recall their employees in a certain order. Prior to the right to recall laws, an employer had complete discretion to pick and choose which employees to bring back, the order in which they would be recalled to work, and the ability to not recall workers based on job performance. A right to recall ordinance eliminates the unbridled discretion of employers to determine which employees to recall and instead requires that employers recall employees in order of seniority. This means that the worker with the most senior qualified status has the right to be recalled first to their position before others in the same role with less experience.

Institution of Right to Recall Laws

At first, municipalities across California began instituting the right to recall ordinances in their cities and towns. Long Beach, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were the first to institute the right to recall laws, and over the last year other cities within California also adopted the law. This includes Carlsbad, Oakland, Pasadena, and Sacramento. A statewide right to recall law was introduced in the California legislature in the summer of 2020 but was vetoed by the governor. However, it was reintroduced this year and was signed into law.

To Whom Does the Right to Recall Apply?

Employers subject to the right to recall include the hospitality industry, including hotels, private clubs, event centers, and airport hospitality centers. The right to recall also applies to janitorial staff, building maintenance, and security hired at office buildings, retail, and other commercial buildings. The right to recall applies to employees who are considered laid off workers, which means that they must have been employed for six months or more in the last 12 months preceding January 1, 2020, and they must have been laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laid off employees that fall under the right to recall law must be offered their job in order of seniority by their employer. An employee is qualified for a position if they held the same or similar position prior to being laid off by the pandemic, and an employer cannot hire a new worker unless it has offered the position to all qualified laid off employees first.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you believe that your employer is not abiding by the right to recall law in California, talk to an experienced employment lawyer today.