What Is the California WARN Act?

California WARN act

Because of worker mistreatment, the government enacts labor laws to protect employees.

One of these laws, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, protects workers when companies plan mass layoffs.

California’s WARN Act expands on the federal WARN Act, providing additional protection for workers.

Here, we’ll highlight key things to know about the California WARN Act so that you can protect your rights at work.

What Does the WARN Act in California Require?

The California WARN Act, also known as 'Cal WARN,' mandates that any industrial or commercial facility employing, or having employed within the past 12 months, at least 75 individuals (referred to as a 'Covered Establishment') must provide a 60-day notice to employees and the appropriate LWDA (Labor and Workforce Development Agency) official before a qualifying layoff, relocation, or termination occurs.

  • A mass layoff is defined as laying off 50 employees in a 30-day period at a covered establishment;
  • A covered establishment is any industrial or commercial facility that employs or has employed 75 or more people during the previous 12 months; and
  • A mass relocation means removing “all or substantially all of the industrial or commercial operations in a covered establishment to a different location 100 miles or more away.”

This warning period gives workers time to look for new jobs. It also gives their families time to adjust their budgets in preparation for a layoff or prepare to move for a relocation.

Workers can also use this time to seek job training for a new line of work.

Which Employees Does the WARN Act Protect?

Under the California WARN Act, a company with a covered establishment in the state must file a WARN notice if the number of employees affected by a layoff or plant closure exceeds 50 within a 30-day period. Specifically, if your company has 75 or more employees at that establishment, you are subject to the WARN Act requirements.

These companies do not have to provide contractors with warnings, but they must provide full-time and part-time employees with notice.

Only employees who have worked for the company for six of the past 12 months count towards the minimum number of employees calculation.

Was the WARN Act Suspended?

While the WARN Act was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, that suspension ended July 1, 2021.

Where Should You Report a WARN Act California Violation?

You can report a WARN Act violation to the California Department of Industrial Relations.

However, the California Department of Industrial Relations does not provide legal advice or enforce labor laws. A California employment lawyer can help you file a WARN Act complaint.

What Compensation Can You Recover?

If you file a WARN Act claim, you can recover these damages:

  • Back pay, 
  • The value of employee benefits, and 
  • The cost of any medical expenses that would have been covered under an employee benefit plan.

Under both the federal and California WARN Acts, employers are obligated to provide a severance package that includes 60 days of back pay and benefits in cases of violations.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

If your employer violated the WARN Act by failing to give you notice of a mass layoff, you might be able to file a claim.

An employment lawyer can help you gather information, calculate damages, and file a WARN Act California claim.

At Starpoint Law, our attorneys provide personalized legal representation to each client. We take the time to answer your questions and pursue effective legal action.

Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about filing a WARN Act claim.

Employment Lawyer Los Angeles

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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