Senate Bill 359, proposed by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, was signed into law in August 17, 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown. The Bill’s aim is to protect grocery workers’ jobs after a change in ownership of a grocery store occurs. The protection period is 90 days and applies to grocery stores that are at least 15,000 square feet.

After a change in ownership of a grocery store, the new owners must hire directly from a list of the grocery establishment’s employees for a 90 day period. Grocery establishments are defined in the Bill as, “a retail store in this state that is over 15,000 square feet in size and that sells primarily household foodstuffs for offsite consumption, including the sale of fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked foods, or prepared foods. Other household supplies or other products shall be secondary to the primary purpose of food sales.”

SB 359 defines an eligible worker as, “any individual whose primary place of employment is at the grocery establishment subject to a change in control, and who has worked for the incumbent grocery employer for at least six months prior to the execution of the transfer document.” The employees are subject to termination only for cause. This job protection does not apply to managers, supervisors, or confidential employees.

Assembly Bill 359 is the first state law in the nation that mandates that grocers retain employees following a change in ownership. Approval of the Bill has been hailed a victory by grocery employees and their advocates.

At Aiman-Smith & Marcy, our practice is dedicated to upholding your rights as an employee. If you have been a victim of unlawful termination following the change in ownership of a grocery store, please call us at (510)817-2711 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our attorneys, Randall Aiman-Smith, Reed Marcy or Hallie Von Rock. Our office is located near the Oakland Coliseum off Highway 880, 66th Avenue exit. We welcome the opportunity to review and discuss your legal concerns.

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