California Suspends WARN Notice Period

Governor Newsom recently issued an Executive Order that temporarily suspends the 60-day employee notice period under California's WARN Act.  Effective immediately and continuing until the end of the ongoing emergency, California employers are no longer required to provide affected employees with 60 days' notice of any mass layoffs, relocations or shutdowns covered by the law.  Instead, employers only need to provide "as much notice as is practicable" and comply with certain other requirements.

The temporary suspension of the notice period is based on the recognition that in an effort to "prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19," employers may be forced to "close rapidly without providing their employees the advance notice required under California law."  The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is expected to issue guidance within the next few days regarding the implementation of the Executive Order.

Although the federal government has not yet taken similar action to suspend the notice requirement under the federal WARN Act, covered employers may be able to rely on the "unforeseen business circumstances" exception, which provides an exception to the 60-day notice requirement for situations involving a "sudden, dramatic, and unexpected action or condition outside the employer's control."

If you have any questions regarding this executive order or other Labor and Employment issues, please do not hesitate to contact David Weldon or your Neal Gerber Eisenberg attorney.