Mass Layoff Or Wrongful Termination? You May Be Entitled To Sue Your California Employer

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Denis ZilberbergOctober 19, 2018Wrongful Termination

Was “mass layoff” the excuse given by your employer to explain why you were fired? You may have just been wrongfully terminated if your employer failed to comply with California’s WARN Act.

For example, have you received at least 60 days’ notice prior to the firing, which your employer refers to as a “mass layoff”? If you were not, you may be entitled to sue your employer and recover wrongful termination benefits.

“Your employer is legally required to provide you with at least 60 days’ notice not only before a mass layoff but also prior to a plant closure or a major relocation,” says our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney at The Kaufman Law Firm.

Failure to provide the notification, as outlined by the WARN Act, requires the non-compliant employer to pay his or her laid-off employees back pay and other benefits for the period of the violation. Meaning: you are entitled to back pay for the number of days or hours by which your employer’s notice fell short of 60 days.

Do you qualify for WARN Act protections?

But which employees qualify for California’s WARN act protections? This is the question we asked our experienced wrongful termination lawyer. In order to answer this question, it is important to define what constitutes a “mass layoff” under California law.

In California, a mass layoff is defined as the firing of fifty or more employees during any 30-day period due to lack of work and/or funds. While wrongful termination laws apply in the vast majority of situations when employees are fired individually, those who are fired as part of a mass layoff, cessation of business or activities, and relocation of a business operation (100 or more miles away from the previous location) are protected by the California WARN Act.

In addition to that, the WARN Act protections apply to employers in Los Angeles and all across California as long as they have employed at least 75 employees in the past 12 months.

Exceptions to the WARN Act in California

However, you may not be able to sue your employer for violating the WARN Act just because you were not given notice 60 days prior to the mass layoff, as there are quite a few exceptions that apply to the law.

Our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney says that these are the exceptions to the California WARN Act notice requirement:

  • Your employer has NOT employed 75 people within the preceding 12 months
  • You have not been employed for this particular employer for at least six months of the 12 months preceding the date on which the notice would be required under the WARN Act
  • The mass layoff, relocation, or plant close was made necessary by a physical calamity or an act of war in the area or country
  • You were hired with the understanding that your job would last as long as the project or undertaking of an employer
  • You were hired as a seasonal employee with the understanding that your employment was seasonal and temporary

What to do if you were fired as part of a mass layoff?

If you can prove that your employer violated the WARN Act and you were wrongfully fired, you may be entitled to damages that differ from those provided to fired employees in wrongful termination cases.

If your employer failed to comply with the WARN Act, you may be entitled to back pay for the period of the violation at the average regular rate received from this employer during the last three years or your final pay rate, whichever is higher. In addition to that, your lawyer will help you recover the value of any benefits that you would have been entitled to during the period of the violation.

If this sounds too confusing, get a consultation from our attorneys at The Kaufman Law Firm. Call our offices at 310-981-3404.


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Your job is more than just a source of income. It is a major part of your lifestyle. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, wrongful demotion or any kind of discriminatory business practices, it is time to take action and contact a Ventura employment law attorney that can help. Attorney Matthew A. Kaufman and the team at The Kaufman Law Firm bring experience and a vast arsenal of legal resources to help clients recover the money they deserve.

To learn more, contact our Westlake Village or Los Angeles law office today and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.

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