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Protecting Employees Rights During Mass Layoffs

Mass layoffs can be devastating for affected workers, their families, and communities. In an attempt to protect these workers, Congress passed the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("WARN" Act). The WARN Act requires most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.

Advance notice gives workers and their families some transition time to adjust to the loss of employment, to seek and obtain other jobs, and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow them to compete successfully in the job market.

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Federal vs. State WARN Act Laws

  • Federal WARN Act - as a federal law, the WARN Act protects employees across the country to ensure that they are given adequate notice about mass layoffs and plant closings. Learn more about the Federal WARN Act.

  • State WARN Acts - a number of states, including California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, have their own versions of the WARN act, which can differ from federal requirements.

Laid off without proper notice?

If an employer violates the WARN Act by failing to provide proper notification of a mass layoff, employees may be entitled to compensation, including back pay and benefits. Workers may bring individual or class action lawsuits against employers who have failed to comply with the WARN Act.

Free and confidential consultations are available with our employment lawyers by calling (866) 981-4800 or by filling out the form to the right

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    Eric Gibbs is a partner at Gibbs Law Group LLP and Girard Gibbs LLP. MORE >
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WARN Act Tips for Employees
  1. In addition to mass layoffs that all occur on the same day, gradual layoffs that take place over time may also violate the WARN Act. If you have been laid off as part of a structured reduction in the workforce without 60 days of notice as required by the WARN Act,  you may be entitled to unpaid wages and benefits. 
  2. A layoff does not have to be permenent to violate the WARN Act. Work furloughs of more thn six months and heavy reductions in your work hours for extended periods of time can also violate the WARN Act and entitle you to compensation. 
  3. Employees who are laid off that are entitles to severance pay under the company's severance pay policy may be able to recover 60 days of WARN Act pay and benefits in addition to their severance pay. 
  4. Some states, such as California, New York, and New Jersey, also have their own WARN Acts. States that have their own WARN Acts can provide greater employee prtections and can subject employers to additional penalties. If you and others at your company have been laid off, be sure to speak to a WARN lawyer promptly about your state and federal WARN Act rights. 
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