The recession has forced companies to downsize, resulting in an epidemic of layoffs. Many mass layoffs trigger employer obligations under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires some employers to provide advance written notice of a “plant closing” or “mass layoff” to their employees.
But sometimes, those obligations can be waived. A recent 7th Circuit case—Ellis v. DHL Express, Inc., No. 09-3596, 2011—held that employees who voluntarily entered into a severance agreement released their employer from liability under the WARN Act.
DHL offers severance
In November 2008, DHL Express announced it would stop offering domestic shipping. As a result, five DHL facilities in Chicago would be closed. In December 2008, the union at these facilities negotiated severance agreements for various bargaining units covering drivers and office workers.
Workers who accepted the severance package—506 in all—...(register to read more)