Under the recently enacted AB 469, discussed on this blog previously, the Labor Commissioner must provide a template that employers can use in providing the required notice. The Labor Commissioner has recently announced on the DLSE home page that this template will be available and posted in mid-December. They will also be providing an FAQ to guide employers in complying with this new law.
This new law shouldn't be too burdensome for employers already providing an offer letter to new hires, which likely includes even more information that what is required under the law. Properly phrased offer letters can do more than just help employers comply with this law, but can also reinforce assertions that employment was at-will, set performance expectations, and set in place conditions for employment such as successful background checks (subject to the requirements of AB 22 of course, discussed previously here). Offer letters can help set these expectations and conditions without the feel and formality of an employment contract. Sure it's a little bit awkward to say to a new employee, "Congratulations on your new job!" while a paragraph later carefully explain how their employment is at-will and they can be fired at any time. But the benefits outweigh this and people are getting more and more used to this language. I'll provide an update here when the DLSE posts the promised template and FAQs.
Update: 12-27-11 As of today, the DLSE still has not posted the promised template. As soon as I hear anything more, I will be sure to post it.
Update: 12-29-11 The DLSE has posted both the template and an FAQ on their website. They are linked here.