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The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act

Last updated on July 23, 2020

An employer that fails to provide WARN notice may be liable for back pay, benefits and civil penalties for each day of violation, as well as the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

The Downey Law Firm can assist you with WARN Act case.

In these tough economic times workers across the nation are being laid off in record numbers. Federal (and in some cases, state) labor laws require adequate notice be given to workers before a mass layoff.

Plant Closings/Mass Layoffs And The Law

The WARN Act, enacted in 1988, is a federal law that requires certain employers to provide at least sixty days advance written notice to employees in the event of mass layoffs and plant closings, allowing workers adequate time to seek employment elsewhere.

A number of states, including California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, have their own versions of the WARN act. These state WARN Acts may differ slightly from the Federal WARN Act.

The WARN Act generally applies to employers with 100 or more employees (excluding employees who have worked for less than six months and those who work less than 20 hours per week). A “mass layoff” is defined as a layoff which results in the loss of at least 33% of the employee workforce.

The WARN Act applies to both hourly and salaried employees, including those in managerial and supervisory positions. Notice must be provided to either the affected employees or their representatives, such as the head of the employee’s labor union.

The WARN Act does not apply if the mass layoff or plant closure was caused by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake, or by business circumstances that were not foreseeable 60 days before the layoff or closure occurred.

If you believe that you or your colleagues were denied the notification required by the WARN Act, or that your employee rights have otherwise been violated, please fill out the contact form or call us, FREE OF CHARGE, at 610-470-5111 for a confidential consultation.


Q: What are the penalties for employers who violate the WARN Act?
A: Employers in violation of the WARN Act are generally liable to each affected employee for an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the period of violation for up to 60 days. New Jersey WARN Act differs from other WARN Acts in that it instead requires employers in violation of the Act to pay affected employees severance pay equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment.

Q: How can The Downey Law Firm help me deal with a possible WARN Act case?
A: The WARN Act is enforced when employees, or their representatives, bring individual or class action suits alleging that an employer violated the WARN Act.  The Downey Law Firm is committed to helping our clients understand the nuances of the WARN Act and obtain the compensation they are owed.