Mississippi Lawyers for Dislocated Workers
Losing a job can be devastating to an employee and his or her family. When everyone in a company loses their job, it can be devastating to an entire community. To help workers and communities cope with job loss, many large companies are required by federal law to give 60 days advance notice of mass layoffs or plant closures. If a company fails to comply, employees may be able to bring suit to obtain compensation and damages. If you lost your job in a mass layoff that occurred with little or no warning, the employee rights attorneys at Watson & Norris, PLLC, in Jackson, Mississippi, are ready to help you.
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The Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is a federal law that requires certain employers to provide advance notice to employees before a plant closing or mass layoff occurs. The law was enacted in 1988 to provide workers with time to adjust to the impending job loss and to seek alternative employment or retraining opportunities.
Who is Covered by the WARN Act?
The WARN Act applies to employers with 100 or more employees, including full-time and part-time employees, who have worked for the employer for at least six months and who work at least 20 hours per week. Employers who fail to comply with the requirements of the WARN Act may be liable for back pay and benefits, as well as civil penalties.
What Triggers WARN Act Notice Requirements?
The WARN Act notice requirements are triggered when an employer plans to close a facility or to lay off a significant number of employees. Specifically, the law requires employers to provide notice to affected employees at least 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff. A plant closing is defined as the permanent or temporary shutdown of a single site of employment that results in the loss of employment for 50 or more employees during any 30-day period. A mass layoff is defined as a reduction in force that results in the loss of employment for 500 or more employees during any 30-day period, or for 50 to 499 employees if they make up at least 33% of the employer's workforce.
What Information Must Be Included in a WARN Act Notice?
The WARN Act requires employers to provide written notice to affected employees, their representatives, and to the state's Dislocated Worker Unit at least 60 days before a plant closing or mass layoff occurs. The notice must include the following information:
- The name and address of the employment site where the plant closing or mass layoff will occur;
- The name and telephone number of a company official who can provide more information about the plant closing or mass layoff;
- The expected date when the plant closing or mass layoff will begin;
- The expected number of employees who will be affected by the plant closing or mass layoff;
- A statement explaining whether the plant closing or mass layoff is expected to be permanent or temporary; and
- A statement indicating whether or not employees will be entitled to bumping rights or other benefits under a collective bargaining agreement or employer policy.
What Are the Penalties for Failing to Comply with the WARN Act?
Employers who fail to comply with the WARN Act's notice requirements may be liable for back pay and benefits for each day of the violation, up to a maximum of 60 days. In addition, employers may be subject to civil penalties of up to $500 per day of the violation.
How Can an Employment Lawyer Help with WARN Act Compliance?
Employment lawyers can assist employers with compliance with the WARN Act by reviewing their operations and advising them of their obligations under the law. Lawyers can also help employers draft and distribute appropriate notices to affected employees and their representatives. In addition, lawyers can represent employers in WARN Act litigation, including disputes over back pay and civil penalties.
Employees who believe their employer has violated the WARN Act can also seek the assistance of an employment lawyer. Lawyers can help employees understand their rights under the law and can help them pursue claims for back pay and benefits. Lawyers can also represent employees in WARN Act litigation and negotiations with their employers.
In conclusion, the WARN Act is an important federal law that requires employers to provide advance notice to employees before a plant closing or mass layoff occurs. Employers who fail to comply with the requirements of the WARN Act may be liable for back pay and benefits, as well as civil penalties. Employment lawyers can assist both employers and employees with compliance with the WARN Act and with pursuing claims for violations.