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California has modified the federal WARN Act and incorporated it into the California Labor Code section 1400 et seq. (California WARN Act).  In California, employers must comply with both the federal WARN Act as well as the California Labor Code. Id. While the federal legislation applies to business establishments that employ 100 or more employees, the state legislation applies to “covered establishments” which are industrial or commercial facilities that have employed 75 or more employees over the preceding 12 months. Cal. Lab. Code § 1400 (a).  The California WARN Act discusses notice requirement for mass layoff, relocation, or termination mandating a 60 days’ notice.  Cal. Lab. Code § 1401 (a).  The Act is silent about notice requirements for ordinary (non-mass) lay offs.  While in the case of a lay off, an employer need not give any notice to its employees, in the case of a mass lay off a 60 days’ notice requirement is mandatory. MacIsaac v. Waste Management Collection & Recycling, Inc., 134 Cal. App. 4th 1076, 1085 (Cal. Ct. App. 2005).


Cal. Lab. Code § 1401.  Notice requirements for mass layoff, relocation, or termination

(a) An employer may not order a mass layoff, relocation, or termination at a covered establishment unless, 60 days before the order takes effect, the employer gives written notice of the order to the following:

(1) The employees of the covered establishment affected by the order.

(2) The Employment Development Department, the local workforce investment board, and the chief elected official of each city and county government within which the termination, relocation, or mass layoff occurs.

(b) An employer required to give notice of any mass layoff, relocation, or termination under this chapter shall include in its notice the elements required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (29 U.S.C. Sec. 2101 et seq.).

(c) Notwithstanding the requirements of subdivision (a), an employer is not required to provide notice if a mass layoff, relocation, or termination is necessitated by a physical calamity or act of war.

Inside California