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Do Yahoo Layoffs Violate California Employment Law?

As Yahoo continues to waver, the Sunnyvale-based company announced plans to reduce its workforce. In early February, Yahoo announced that it will fire about 15 percent of its workforce in the coming months.

The layoffs take place as the company faces legal challenges over earlier job cuts. A former Yahoo employee sued the company Feb. 1, arguing that the employer violated California state laws and federal laws when it laid off hundreds of workers in 2014 and 2015.

Under California law, anytime a company lays off more than 50 employees at one location within 30 days, it must provide a 60-day notice. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires similar notice when more than 500 people are to lose their jobs.

Yahoo fired 1,100 employees over a few months between late 2014 and early 2015, claiming the layoffs were performance related.

The lawsuit, filed by a former Yahoo editor, alleges that the cuts were illegal mass layoffs. He claims Yahoo's senior managers manipulated quarterly performance reviews to sidestep labor law.

Understanding Yahoo's Performance Reviews

Every quarter, Yahoo rates each one of its employees on a 1 to 5 scale. The ratings have been used as justification to fire hundreds of employees at the struggling technology company since mid-2012. They have been widely criticized as a stack ranking or bell curve system that forces managers to inaccurately categorize employees as poor performers.

Managers are said to be required to give a certain percentage of employees low ratings without regard to their actual performance. Also troublesome, higher level executives are reported to change ratings without any direct knowledge of an employee's performance. This manipulation within the performance review process, according to the lawsuit, was used to justify illegal mass layoffs.

What Can You Do If You Were Illegally Laid Off?

If you lost your job in Yahoo's layoffs, or in any other mass layoff without 60-days notice, consider talking to an attorney about your options.

The future of the lawsuit discussed above remains to be seen, but when employers violate labor laws, they can be held accountable. If Yahoo is found to have violated California or federal labor laws, affected employees could receive back pay and $500 a day and benefits for each day without notice.

Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer has extensive experience representing plaintiffs who have been unfairly laid off. We represented 130 former employees at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, all of whom were laid off in May 2008, shortly after the lab was privatized. After seven years of intense litigation, the case settled in September 2015 for $37.25 million. Call 510-832-5411 or reach us online today to schedule a free legal consultation.

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