The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires certain employers to give their employees at least 60 days notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. Violating WARN carries some stiff penalties. You can be forced to pay up to 60 days back pay and benefits to each affected employee, plus attorneys’ fees and a $500 per-day civil penalty.
Lawsuits challenging WARN Act compliance have become more common in the wake of the recent layoff binge. U.S. companies announced 143,977 claims from mass layoffs in February 2007, the highest monthly total in 18 months. Layoff events in early 2007 are on target to outpace 2006 figures by 11.42%.
How to comply
Your company must follow the WARN Act if it has 100 or more employees, including temps. When tallying employees, don’t count those who have worked for you less than six of the past 12 months or who average less than 20 hours a week....(register to read more)
- Firing a troublemaker? Focus on concrete business reasons
- Beware firing after worker calls hotline
- Firing employees on FMLA leave: Occasionally legal, usually unwise
- Give benefit of doubt to panicked workers who take sudden FMLA leave
- Warn supervisors: It's not your job to question why employees take FMLA leave