Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act)
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”) provides protection to workers, their families, and to communities by requiring employers to provide notification 60-calendar days in advance of plant closings or mass layoffs. Advance notice provides workers and their families time to adjust and transition to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain alternative jobs and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining programs that will allow these workers to successfully compete in the job market.
The WARN Act, however, is not activated when a covered employer:
- Closes a temporary facility or completes a temporary project and the employees working in the facility or temporary project were hired with the clear understanding that their employment would end with the closing of the work facility or the completion of the project;
- Closes a facility or operating unit because of a strike or a worker lock-out, and the closing is not intended to evade the purposes of the WARN Act;
- If a plant closing or a mass layoff results in fewer than 50 workers losing their jobs at a single employment site;
- If 50 to 499 workers lose their jobs and that number is less than 33 percent of the employer’s total, active workforce at a single employment site;
- If a layoff is for 6 months or less; or
- If work hours are not reduced by 50 percent in each month of any 6-month period.
There are three exceptions to the full 60-day notice requirement: (1) when a company is faltering and actively seeking capital or business and believes that advance notice would preclude its ability to obtain the capital or business and securing the capital or business would prevent the closing or law off; (2) when the closing or layoff is caused by business circumstances unforeseeable at the time the 60-day notice would have been required; and (3) when a closing or layoff is caused by a natural disaster. The notice, however, must be provided as soon as practicable and the employer must provide a statement of the reason for shortening the notice requirement in addition to fulfilling other notice information requirements.Penalties
Where a covered employer violates the WARN Act, a terminated employee may recover: (1) back pay and benefits for the period of the violation (up to 60 days) and (2) reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.Local Laws
New Jersey and New York have local WARN Acts. Florida, however, does not.
If you have been fired as part of a plant closing or mass layoff, please contact the attorneys at The Harman Firm, LLP.