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Plant Closings and Layoff Laws

California employees have some certain rights in case their employer closes a facility, conducts a mass layoff, or otherwise cuts a huge number of jobs. Though employees don’t have a legal right to keep their jobs, nor to be hired into other positions with the company or be considered for rehire, but they have the right to a certain amount of notice before a large-scale layoff or a plant closing.

According to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) employees are entitled to damages in this case employer fails to give proper notice. California also has its own version of the WARN Act

Differences Between Federal and California Warn Laws

According to the federal WARN Act, companies that employ a certain number of employees are required to provide affected employees, their representatives and specified government officials and agencies with sixty days’ advance, written notice prior to any mass layoffs or plant closings.

California’s WARN Act is much broader in scope than the federal law and affects more employers. Accordingly, companies must comply with the requirements of both laws and penalties, including up to sixty days’ back pay per employee, could be assessed for failing to provide required notice.

Who Are the Covered Employers?

Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and California’s WARN Act require employers to give advance notice of mass layoffs or plant closings which will result in a certain percentage of employees losing their jobs.

Covered Employers Under Federal Warn Act

Under federal WARN Act employers are covered in case they have at least one hundred full-time employees or at least one hundred employees who work a combined 4,000 hours or more per week.

Covered Employers Under California’s Warn Act

According to California’s WARN Act employers are covered in case they own a commercial or industrial facility, which employs at least seventy-five employees.

Covered Layoffs Under Federal Warn Act

  • Mass layoff, which is defined as a reduction in force resulting in job loss at a single site of employment for hive hundred or more full-time employees, or for fifty to four hundred ninety-nine full-time employees, in case the number of employees laid off makes up at least 33% of the total number of employees.
  • Plant closing, which is defined as the shutdown of a single site of employment, or at least one operating unit or facility within a single site of employment, which results in job loss for fifty or more full-time employees during a thirty-day period.

Covered Layoffs Under California’s Warn Act

California law is applicable in the following cases:

  • Closing of a commercial or industrial facility with at least seventy-five employees
  • Layoff, defined as job loss for at least fifty employees in a thirty-day period.
  • Relocation of a commercial or industrial facility with at least seventy-five employees to a location at least one hundred miles away.

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