Cities May Limit Grocer Firings

grocery aisleThis decision is a boost for worker rights.  Cities may limit the ability of employers to summarily fire and replace workers when the employer takes over a new company.  The California Supreme Court, by a 6-1 vote, upheld a Los Angeles ordinance that required large grocery stores to retain their workforce for 90 days after they takeover another firm.

The city ordinance is similar to limits on mass firing imposed by other cities.

The court said the worker retention ordinance is not trumped by state health and safety law, which already regulates employee collective bargaining, or federal labor law.

The city law required that large grocery stores that undergo a change in ownership must honor a 90-day employee job vesting period during the transition.

Other cities with similar laws include San Jose, Oakland, Santa Monica and  Berkeley, according to the court.

In the Los Angeles case, the California Grocers Association challenged the ordinance in 2005 as violating equal protection provisions of state law and that cities were barred from enacting their own laws because the state controls lawmaking on this topic.

 Case:  California Grocers Assoc v. City of Los Angeles,  S176099

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