Q. I am the owner of several industrial facilities, but recent financial crises have forced me to have to shut down two of these plants. These closings and subsequent layoffs will affect about 600 employees. Am I required to notify the employees before laying them off?
A. Yes. Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), this business maneuver would qualify as a “mass layoff,” since it involves 500 or more employees. Accordingly, the employees must be notified in advance.
WARN requires employers to provide at least 60 days’ advance written notice of covered layoffs and plant closings to affected employees, their representatives and appropriate local government officials. If you do not give the required notice, you may be held liable to affected employees for back pay and benefits for the 60-day notice period.