The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is a federal law designed to safeguard employees, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide notice before covered plant closings and significant layoffs. This notice period is crucial for allowing affected employees to prepare for the transition and seek alternative employment or training opportunities. Understanding your rights under the WARN Act can significantly impact your ability to plan for your future in the face of job loss.

What Is the WARN Act?

The WARN Act is a pivotal federal statute that mandates employers provide a 60-day notice to employees ahead of mass layoffs or the shutting down of operations. This law aims to cushion the blow for workers and their families, affording them an adjustment period to seek new employment or retraining. By fostering transparency and preparation, the WARN Act plays a significant role in mitigating the adverse effects of sudden job losses on individuals and communities, ensuring that the transition caused by economic shifts or business decisions is as smooth as possible for the affected workers.

Are You Covered?

Determining if you’re covered under the WARN Act hinges on specific criteria. It primarily applies to companies with 100 or more full-time employees or those with 100 or more employees, including part-timers, who work a combined total of at least 4,000 hours per week. If your workplace announces a significant layoff or closure and you meet these conditions, the WARN Act protections likely apply to you, offering a safety net during transitional times.

Your Rights Under the WARN Act

Under the WARN Act, your rights center on receiving a 60-day advance notice from your employer before any significant layoff or plant closing. This notice is not merely a formality; it must include specific details such as the expected date of the layoff or closure, whether it is permanent or temporary or six months or less, and the contact information for a person in the company who can provide any additional information. Importantly, this notice must be provided to both employees and their representatives, such as unions, as well as to local government officials. The aim is to ensure that you have adequate time and information to prepare for the impact on your employment, whether that means seeking new job opportunities, arranging for retraining, or adjusting your personal finances. This advanced warning is a crucial right that empowers you to navigate through potentially challenging times with greater security and knowledge.

Exceptions to the Rule: When Notice Is Not Required

While the WARN Act is comprehensive, it does contain exceptions where employers are not required to provide the standard 60-day notice. These exceptions include instances of unforeseen business circumstances, natural disasters, or if the company is actively seeking capital or business which, if obtained, would have avoided or postponed the layoff or closure. There’s also a distinction for “faltering companies” that are seeking new capital or business to stay open. Understanding these nuances is essential, as they can affect whether you’re eligible for advance notice under specific circumstances.

What to Do If Your Rights Are Violated

If you suspect your WARN Act rights have been violated due to a lack of proper notice before a layoff or plant closure, it’s important to take immediate action. Initially, document all relevant information, including any communications from your employer and the dates of announced layoffs or closures. Then, consider reaching out to a legal professional who can provide guidance based on the specifics of your situation. They can help you understand your rights, assess the strength of your case, and determine the best course of action, which may include seeking enforcement of the Act’s provisions and pursuing compensation for up to 60 days pay.

Get Help Asserting Your Rights Under the WARN Act

At Lore Law Firm, we’re committed to advocating for employees’ rights under the WARN Act. Our team can assess your situation, guide you through your legal options, and represent your interests effectively. If you’re facing a layoff or plant closure without proper notice, contact us. Complete our free and confidential online client intake form, and let’s explore how we can support you in asserting your rights.