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California WARN Act Basics
California enacted its own Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Similar to its federal counterpart, California WARN requires employers to provide an advance 60-day notice in case of a mass layoff. The notice should be given to all the involved employees as well as state and local representatives.
What Triggers California WARN Application?
Employers are required to provide the 60-day notice in advance of the following events:
- Mass layoff: when 50 or more employees are separated from their positions permanently or temporarily within a 30-day period.
- Relocation: when "all or substantially all" operations are moved to another location 100 or more miles away.
- Termination: when a facility closes and its operations cease completely or substantially.
Comparing Federal and State Laws: What are Some Benefits of California WARN Act?
- California WARN applies to employers who had employed at least 75 persons (as opposed to at least 100 under federal WARN) within last 12 months.
- State WARN applies to full-time as well as part-time employees.
- State law covers plant shutdowns as well as relocations and layoffs of at least 50 employees during a 30-day time period.
- As long as at least 50 employees are affected, it is irrelevant what percentage of total workforce affected employees make up (federal "one-third" rule doesn't apply).
- It appears that a parent corporation is liable for failure to provide 60-day notice even when its independently run subsidiary had complied with this requirement.
- California law doesn't apply to non-profits and quasi-public organizations, making federal WARN scope wider in that respect.
- Under both laws, failure to give 60-day notice results in liability for back pay and benefits, but state law doesn't limit benefits liability to ERISA plans and doesn't reduce liability by accrued vacations pay.
- Under California WARN, unemployment insurance benefits continue when employees get paid for employer's violations of state or federal law.
- In addition to complying with federal WARN requirements, a 60-day notice in California must be served to chief elected city and county officials as well as Local Workforce Investment Board.
Should I Seek Attorney's Help for Violations of California WARN Act?
If you and other employees were not provided with 60-day notice in advance of a layoff and/or were not compensated during those 60 days, seek help of a California attorney specializing in employment law or class actions. Since California employers should follow federal and the state WARNs, an attorney may find violations of both statues as well as other applicable laws. So, for employers relying on WARN exceptions, it may be necessary to seek attorney determination as to availability of exceptions under both federal and state statutes.
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Last Modified: 08-06-2013 04:11 PM PDT
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