California Layoff laws & HR compliance analysis

California Layoff: What you need to know

California has adopted provisions similar to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) that require industrial or commercial facilities employing 75 or more workers within the previous 12 months to provide 60 days' written notice to employees in the following circumstances:
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• Before conducting a mass layoff of 50 or more employees during any 30-day period; or
• Before a plant closing or a relocation to a new location 100 miles or more away that affects all or substantially all workers at the facility (CA Lab. Code Sec. 1400 et seq.).
Note: A California Court of Appeals held that an employer does not have to provide 60 days' notice to employees when, as a result of a sale of a business, the employees are transferred to another operation and have essentially the same position, benefits, and compensation (MacIsaac v. Waste Management Collection and Recycling, Inc., 134 Cal. App. 4th 1076 (2005)).
However, the court also indicated that employers may still be bound to the law's notice requirements if employees are transferred to new jobs with inferior wages and different benefits as a result of a sale. As such, employers must remain vigilant in making sure that they are in compliance with the state WARN law.
Furloughs. A California Court of Appeals opinion has found that temporary furloughs may also trigger the state’s notice requirements.
In the opinion, the court noted that the state WARN Act “does not state that a separation must occur for a specified time period” and that “the concept of being separated from a position does not suggest a requirement that the employment relationship be severed” (The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers v. NASSCO Holdings, Inc., 17 Cal. ...

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