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The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, 29 U.S.C.S. 2100 et seq., is a federal statute. It requires employers to give notice before mass layoffs, plant closings, and business closings.
What Businesses Does the Warn Act Cover?
The WARN Act covers businesses or plants with at least 100 employees.
What Triggers the WARN Act?
The shutdown of a single employment site facility or a mass layoff can trigger the WARN Act.
What Is a Mass Layoff?
Under the Warn Act, a mass layoff occurs when
- 50 or more employees are laid off in 30 days; if the plant has 150 or fewer employees
- 500 employees are laid off in 30 days, regardless of the size of the workforce
Does Texas Have a State WARN Act?
No. While some states do, Texas does not have its own version of the Act.
What Happens if a Business Violates the Act?
A business violates the WARN Act and is liable to affected employees. It owes them an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the violation period. The maximum period is 60 days because the Act requires 60 days’ notice.
Businesses may also have to pay civil penalties.
If My Employer Had Fewer than 100 Employees Does the WARN Act Apply?
Generally, no. But it might be under some circumstances. For example, if employees work the equivalent hours of 100+ full-time employees, then it does. It does not hurt to check with an attorney to see if you should have been given a warning.
What Does the WARN Act Require?
Employers must give 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff, plant or business closure.
The Act does not prevent them from closures or layoffs.
How Does the Business Give Notice?
The business gives notice directly to employees in a non-unionized company. In a unionized firm, it provides notice to union representatives.
In the notice, the business must provide information about the timetable for the layoffs or closures.
Does the WARN Act Always Apply?
No. The Act contains an exception for unforeseen business circumstances. For example, the Act did not cover closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If your employer violated the WARN Act, an attorney could help you get your missing pay. Contact the Salazar Law Firm to find out how we can help.