A job termination can be doubly devastating when it takes you by surprise.
Fortunately, California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires plants and certain employers to notify their employees in advance of large events that will affect the job status of many workers.
If an employer does not follow the state’s WARN Act requirements, it could be liable to pay damages and cover healthcare expenses from improperly terminated insurance plans.
If you were recently subject to a mass layoff, relocation, or plant closure without forewarning, speak to an employment attorney about your right to damages under the WARN Act.
Our experienced attorneys at Workplace Rights Law Group are uniquely equipped to defend your rights against an employer that mistreats you.
Contact us today to get started.
Which Employers Are Required to Give California WARN Act Notice?
While an employer has the right to make business decisions that downsize or end its operations, the law recognizes the devastating effects these decisions have on workers and their families.
The purpose of the WARN laws is to give employees lead time to find new work, get training, or make adjustments before a significant employment change.
Employees have WARN Act rights under federal and California law, but California’s law covers more employers and employees.
Under the California WARN Act, employers that are closing a plant, relocating the business at least 100 miles away, or going to lay off at least 50 employees within a 30-day period, must give affected employees at least a 60-day notice.
An employer must also notify the state and local government about a plant closure or mass layoff.
The employers that must comply with notice requirements for large layoffs and plant closures include the following:
- Employers that have had at least 75 full-time and part-time employees for at least twelve (12) months in the preceding year,
- Employers closing plants of any size, and
- Employers making 100-mile or greater relocations of businesses of any size.
If an employer is subject to the WARN Act requirements, it must follow a specific protocol for notifying its employees and government officials.
California WARN Act Notice Requirements
Under 20 CFR section 639.7, a WARN notice must be provided within 60 days prior to a plant closing, layoff, or relocation.
Further, the notice has to be specific and contain the following information for employees who do not have representatives:
- The name and address of the worksite that is closing, relocating, or conducting a layoff,
- A statement regarding whether the change will be permanent,
- A statement regarding whether the entire plant will be closed (if applicable),
- The anticipated date of the change and when the employee will be separated from their job,
- A statement about whether bumping rights (the right to displace another employee in a layoff) are available, and
- The name and phone number of a company official the employee can contact for additional information.
WARN Act requirements for notice to an employee’s representative are similar, but the notice need not contain information about bumping rights.
An employer planning a layoff, plant closure, or relocation must deliver notice to its employees in a reasonable manner.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) notes that acceptable forms of delivery include:
- Personal delivery,
- First-class mail, and
- Notice in each affected employee’s pay envelope.
The EDD also notes that providing notice on a preprinted ticket that the employer regularly includes with an employee’s paycheck is not sufficient for the purposes of WARN.
Remedies If an Employer Violates the California WARN Act
If your employer fails to give you proper notice under the WARN requirements, you can sue your employer in civil court.
You can also seek the help of the California Labor Commissioner to investigate your claim. If you win your lawsuit, your legal remedies can include the following:
- Back pay,
- Attorney fees, and
- Reimbursement for medical expenses incurred because of a terminated employee benefit plan.
Employers that violate the WARN Act can also be liable to pay civil penalties.
WARN laws give employees the necessary time and support to safeguard and rebuild their lives after significant job changes.
If you are in the middle of a transition like this and your employer did not give you the required notice, you have a right to legal relief. However, you likely will not have adequate time to seek relief after a layoff.
You should consult with a skilled employment attorney as soon as you discover that your employer will be laying off employees, closing its plant, or relocating in fewer than 60 days.
Your attorney can help ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve while you adjust to your new circumstances.
Workplace Rights Law Group Knows How to Protect You
At Workplace Rights Law Group, our employment attorneys have 75 combined years of experience.
We also have past experience representing employers, so we know how to champion an employee’s rights against employer misconduct.
Our employment attorneys are passionate about defending the rights of California workers, and we are here for you.