Are you an employer who is about to issue a mass layoff of a significant portion of your workforce? Are you an employee who works at a plant or factory facility that will be closing? Are you involved in an industry where downsizing is common? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a basic understanding of the federal and state employment WARN laws related to mass layoffs or plant closing is essential.
The Federal WARN Act
Under the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), employers are required to provide 60 days advance notice of either a plant closing or mass layoff. This notice must be provided to the employees, any applicable unions, and government officials. The Act defines “plant closing” as a shutdown of a single site, which will result in the loss of employment for 50 or more employees within a 30-day period.
Additionally, a “mass layoff,” including a loss of employment of at least 33 percent of the workforce (with a minimum of 50 employees being affected); or a loss of employment of 500 or more employees at a single sight, within a 30-day period, is covered under the Act.
Employers who violate the Federal WARN Act face liability for back pay and benefits for up to 60 days for each aggrieved employee.
New Jersey Mass Layoff and Plant Closing Laws
In New Jersey, a state law sets forth similar notification requirements with respect to mass layoffs and plant closings. The New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (NJ WARN) expands part of the Federal WARN Act by requiring notice even when the employment losses result from a sale of a business.
While the Federal WARN Act includes exemptions for faltering businesses, unforeseen circumstances, strikes or lockouts, these exemptions are not specifically set forth in the NJ WARN Act.
The NJ WARN Act contains strict provisions with respect to job transfer circumstances. Both WARN Acts will not count as “employment losses” those situations in which an employer offers to transfer an employee within reasonable distance to another position that has the equivalent status and pay. However, under the NJ WARN Act, that transfer opportunity must also be located within the state.
In addition to liability for back pay and benefits, employers violating the NJ WARN Act face a special penalty of one week’s severance pay for each of the employee’s years of service to the employer. Employees may also file a private suit to obtain compensatory damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs under the NJ WARN Act.
Marlton Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Assist Employees and Employers Throughout New Jersey
If you are involved in an employment related matter in New Jersey, the experienced Marlton employment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. are here to assist you. We proudly represent employees and employers in a wide variety of employment law matters including Federal and NJ WARN Act compliance and enforcement.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.