Hometown Buffet Cleared in State's Investigation Into Sudden Closures

The buffet restaurant chain abruptly closed six locations in San Diego in February leaving many staffers without jobs

Hometown Buffet, which abruptly closed six of its San Diego restaurants earlier this year, has been cleared in a state investigation, officials confirmed Wednesday.

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), an investigation by the Labor Commissioner revealed the closures of the local eateries did not fall under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which offers protection to workers by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of mass layoffs.

The law applies to businesses with 75 or more employees.

“No location met the 75-worker threshold,” DIR public information officer Paola Laverde told NBC 7. “The WARN Act applies to larger facilities of at least 75 or more workers in order to qualify as a covered establishment under the Cal WARN Act.”

Hometown Buffet suddenly closed down eateries in Santee, El Cajon, San Marcos, Oceanside and San Diego in early February, saying the company was shuttering locations that were "underperforming."

"We know that these decisions are not easy," Hometown Buffet said in a letter announcing the closures.

Many upset employees and customers complained on Hometown Buffet’s Facebook page, saying the company had not sufficiently warned employees of the closures.

The chain’s locations in Chula Vista, National City and south San Diego remain open. The company said employees of the locations that shuttered would be able to apply for positions at the restaurants that remained open.

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