The agricultural company Dole who is based in westlake Village is planning to close its strawberry growing farms in Southern California effective October 6. This will leave 172 farmworkers without a job. The well-known company and one of the world’s largest fresh fruit and vegetable producers is $1.3 billion in debt and has declined in annual revenue. It also plans to close operations in Santa Maria and in Sweetwater, Florida. Their director of corporate communications, Bill Goldfield says the decision is based on a potentially better position to compete with the rest of the agricultural industry. They reviewed the company’s current production levels and projections to come to this conclusion. Dole does not currently plan to move out of Southern California but the layoff will affect many of their loyal employees. However, there are rumors that they will be exchanging their corporate headquarters in Westlake Village with a Hawaiian property. This could bring with it many more closures and layoffs in the future if it turns out to be true. Lay offs normally come with unemployment assistance but when a company is closing down things can get more complicated. A Westlake Village employment law attorney can give you the best information on your particular situation. A company in debt may try to get out of paying its former employees but with the help of an attorney this can sometimes be avoided.
Agricultural experts say that the laid off employees will not have a hard time finding new employment but only time can tell.dole is not the first company to lay off agricultural farmworkers. There is still a high demand for agricultural workers within the county even though some farmworkers are seeking employment outside of the county. The regional director for the United Farm Workers says that the demand for farm workers will gradually increase over the years and by 2050 production will be at two times what it is now for the same resources. This evidence suggests that farmworkers will always be needed and even more so in the coming years. Local farms in Ventura County are actually suffering from a labor shortage meaning laid off Dole workers will find jobs at some of these farms. However, these farmworkers may not be able to continue working on strawberry farms since berry farming is becoming harder in the country because of economic issues.
Since 1993, Matthew Kaufman has been protecting employees rights for various types of cass including wrongful termination and discrimination. This seems like a clear cut case as the company is closing a section of their operation. But things can get complicated since Dole seems to have some major debt. Our Westlake Village employment rights attorney will work tirelessly on your behalf to obtain compensation and make sure big companies are not taking advantage of their workers. If you feel you have an employment case contact our offices for an initial consultation.