What is the WARN Act, and what are my employer’s obligations under it?

The WARN Act (“Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act”) is a federal law that requires many large employers to provide 60 days’ notice to employees if it is closing a plant or laying off a large number of workers. See the Department of Labor website.  Notice must be given to salaried and hourly workers, and to elected officials in the affected community as well.  The notice provided to workers must contain the following information:

*    A statement about whether the planned action is expected to be permanent or temporary and, if the entire plant is to be closed, a statement to that effect
*    The expected date when the plant closing or mass layoff will begin, and the expected date when the individual employee will be separated
*    An indication whether or not bumping rights exist
*    The name and telephone number of a company official to contact for further information

If an employer violates the WARN Act and lays employees off without the proper notice, employees may bring class action lawsuits to seek up to 60 days worth of back pay and benefits.

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