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Exceptions to the Warn Act - Federal and California

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("WARN") requires employers to provide its employees with 60-day notice before the employer (i) orders the closing of a plant involving 50 or more employees during a 30-day period, (ii) lays off 50 to 499 full-time employees constituting at least 33% of the full-time workforce at a single site of employment within a 30-day period, or (iii) lays off 500 or more employees.

The State of California enacted its own version of WARN ("California WARN") which became effective on January 1, 2003, and requires an employer that is a "covered establishment" to provide its employees with 60-day notice before the employer (i) closes a plant affecting any amount of employees, (ii) relocates the worksite 100 miles or more, or (iii) lays off 50 or more employees within a 30-day period.

Although California's version was modeled after WARN, there are many differences between the two statutes. A more detailed summary of the differences between the two can be found on the State of California Employment Development Department's website at:
http://www.edd.ca.gov/jobs_and_training/Layoff_Services_WARN.htm

An employer should note that WARN is only applicable if an employer has 100 or more full-time employees who were employed for at least six of the twelve months preceding the date of required notice. California WARN is only applicable to a "covered establishment" with 75 or more full or part-time employees who were employed for at least six of the twelve months preceding the date of required notice.

Furthermore, there are many partial and complete exceptions from the notice requirement. The following table below outlines whether certain exceptions are recognized under WARN and/or California WARN:

Exceptions From Notice Requirement Recognized Under Federal WARN Act Recognized Under California WARN Act
Sale of Business Yes No
Transfer of Employees Yes No
Unforeseeable Business Circumstance Yes No
Extended Layoffs Yes No
Strikes and Lockouts Yes No
Faltering Company (Seeking Capital or Business) Yes Yes
Natural Disaster/Physical Calamity Yes Yes
Temporary Facilities/Limited Projects Yes Yes
Act of War No Yes
Seasonal Employment No Yes

For further information or questions, please contact Andrew Lee or any of the other attorneys at Shulman Hodges & Bastian LLP at 949-340-3400.

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