Amid mass layoffs in the tech industry, a new California bill aims to give impacted workers better advance notice.
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), would require California employers to alert employees of mass layoffs 90 days before they happen and prohibit employers from forcing employees to sign their rights away in exchange for severance pay.
Twitter, for example, allowed employees to receive severance pay if they signed notices that prohibited them from speaking out against or suing the company, owner Elon Musk, or Twitter management, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Innovative industries like tech are a critical part of our state’s economy, and we know that tech companies start here and grow here because of our highly skilled workforce,” Haney said in a statement.
“This bill is about protecting that workforce, from the engineers to the janitors, and making sure they’re treated fairly during a job transition. To be pro tech, we have to be pro-tech worker. Our workers are why these companies are in California. If we don’t take care of our tech workers, then we’ll lose one of California’s greatest resources to states like Texas, Washington, or New York.”
The bill also proposes to extend these protections to contract workers who employers aren’t legally obligated to contact before layoff notices are sent out.
Should the bill pass, these new protections would apply to employers who lay off more than 50 workers at a time.
In recent months tech companies, such as Twitter, Meta and Google, have laid off thousands of employees, often without prior notice.
In November, the Associated Press reported that at least one Twitter employee filed a lawsuit alleging that Elon Musk failed to provide employees a warning notice that mass layoffs were coming. After taking over Twitter, Musk laid off about half of the company’s staff.
In January, Microsoft announced it would cut 10,000 jobs, or nearly 5% of its workforce. Amazon announced plans to cut 18,000 jobs and Meta is getting shedding 11,000 positions.