Gov. Brown signs bill giving more job security to grocery store employees

The grocery store industry in recent years has been characterized by increased consolidation, with large chains buying up smaller ones. All of this change in ownership has frequently been to the detriment of grocery store employees, as new ownership seeks to cut labor costs by laying off workers, often with very little warning.

Now grocery workers in California will have more job security now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill limiting employers’ ability to terminate workers’ employment. It is estimated that the bill, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2016, will offer additional protections to 383,900 workers throughout the state.

Specifically, the legislation applies to larger grocery stores — those with 15,000 or more square feet — and protects employees from job loss in the 90 days after a store changes ownership. After the 90-day transition period is up, the new store owner is required to do a written performance evaluation, as well as consider offering workers continued employment if they receive a satisfactory evaluation.

However, the employer will still have the right to fire an employee during or after the 90-day period if there is a legitimate cause to do so.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who sponsored the bill, spoke succinctly of the need for additional job protections: “Wall Street mergers and acquisitions that make big money for corporations and private equity firms should not jeopardize the jobs of grocery store workers who live and work in our communities.”

In every industry, there is a risk that the employer-employee relationship will become adversarial, and in many cases, employees find their employment wrongfully terminated.

For more on how San Diego Employment Law Group fights to protect California workers from wrongful termination, please see our wrongful discharge overview.

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