Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), employers must give 60 days’ notice before a covered plant closing or mass layoff that result in an employment loss of 50 or more employees during a 30-day period. This generally does not include employees who worked less than six months during the last year, or employees that work an average of fewer than 20 hours per week. The purpose of this notice is to protect workers, their families, and surrounding communities.
The WARN Act generally applies to employers with 100 or more employees, including private companies and non-profit organizations, as well as public and quasi-public employers that operate in a commercial context. Affected workers include hourly and salaried workers, managers and supervisors.
If an employer violates the WARN Act, any worker, representative or local government agency may bring an individual or class action lawsuit in court. The employer may be required to pay all affected employees back pay and benefits for the period of violation. Additionally, an employer may be subject to a civil penalty for failing to provide notice to a local governmental agency, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees. California has similar laws in place to compliment the federal WARN Act.