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Assemblywoman Akilah Weber. (Photo: UCSD.edu)

Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1601: Call Centers and Layoffs

Employment protections, mass layoff, relocation, or termination of employees at call centers

By Chris Micheli, September 30, 2022 2:12 pm

On September 29, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1601 by Assembly Member Dr. Akilah Weber (D-San Diego).

Section 1 of the bill adds Article 1 (commencing with Section 1400) to Chapter 4 of Part 4 of Division 2 of the Labor Code. Article 1 is titled “General Cal/WARN Requirements.” Section 1400 provides that this chapter may be cited as the “California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act” or “Cal/WARN Act.”

Section 2 of the bill amends and renumbers Labor Code Section 1400 to Section 1400.5. Section 3 of the bill amends Labor Code Section 1406 by adding as a new section of law that the Labor Commissioner may enforce the notice requirements, including investigating an alleged violation and ordering appropriate temporary relief to mitigate the violation pending the completion of a full investigation or hearing. 

In addition, if a citation is issued, the procedures for issuing, contesting, and enforcing judgments for citations and civil penalties issued by the commissioner must be the same as set forth in existing law.

Section 4 of the bill adds Article 2 (commencing with Section 1409) to Chapter 4 of Part 4 of Division 2 of the Labor Code. Article 2 is titled “Relocation of Call Centers.” Section 1409 specifies that this article applies to an employer’s relocation of a call center.

The following terms are defined: “call center”; “call center employer”; and, “relocation of a call center.” Section 1410 prohibits a call center employer from ordering a relocation of its call center, unless notice of the relocation is provided. If a call center employer is required to provide notice, the call center employer may provide a single notice.

The Employment Development Department is required to compile and publish semiannually, on its internet website, a list of call center employers operating a call center that provided notice. The EDD and local workforce development boards must provide workforce services to call center employers and their call center employees who are laid off as a result of the relocation of a call center.

Section 1410.5 requires a violation of this law to be enforced as specified, and that a call center employer that is found liable for failing to provide the notice required under this article cannot also be liable for violations for failing to provide notice under the same facts.

Section 1411 provides that a  a call center employer that appears on the list, or who should have appeared on the list but did not provide notice as specified, is ineligible to be awarded or have renewed any direct or indirect state grants or state-guaranteed loans to that call center employer for five years after the date that the list is published, and that call center employer is also ineligible to claim a tax credit for five taxable years beginning on and after the date that the list is published.

Section 1412 prohibits this article from being construed to permit withholding or denial of payments, compensation, or benefits under any other state law, including state unemployment compensation, disability payments, or worker retraining or readjustment funds, to workers employed by call center employers that relocate to a foreign country.

Section 1413 authorizes the Labor Commissioner and EDD to adopt rules and regulations. Section 5 of the bill allows reimbursement to local agencies.

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2 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1601: Call Centers and Layoffs

  1. Curious, does this protect those call centers in India? if the business is located in CA
    Does this protect insourcing (with foreigners) call centers that are on the rise?

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