California employers have been struggling with the potential impact of the state and federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) on their organizations during the coronavirus pandemic.
WARN provides protection to workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs.
On March 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-31-20 to provide guidance to employers on Cal-WARN, among other things, during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Order suspends the 60-day notice and penalty portions of Cal-WARN for businesses ordering mass layoffs, relocations, or terminations during the period that began March 4, 2020 “through the end of this emergency,” under the following conditions:
- that the employer gives a Cal-WARN notice that, other than timing, is compliant with Cal-WARN’s basic notice requirements;
- that the employer gives as much notice “as is practicable” and “provides a brief statement of the basis for reducing the notification period;”
- that the mass layoff, relocation, or termination was “caused by COVID-19-related ‘business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would have been required;’” and
- that the notice contains the following statement: “If you have lost your job or been laid off temporarily, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI). More information on UI and other resources available for workers is [sic] available at labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019.
If you have questions about WARN or any other employee/workplace-related coronavirus issues, please contact the Hirschfeld Kraemer lawyer who normally serves your legal needs, or Kirstin Muller, firstname.lastname@example.org, (310) 255-1811, Keith Grossman, email@example.com, (310) 255-1821, or China Westfall, firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 835-9067.