Employees can face severe psychological and financial harm when their employer unexpectedly terminates them or lays them off. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) is a legislative attempt to mitigate the widespread negative consequences of unexpected termination and dislocation. The WARN Act requires specific employers to provide their employees with notice before a mass layoff or plant closing. Texas employers that violate WARN provisions may be liable to any affected employee.
The WARN Act typically applies to public, quasi-public, non-profit, and private for-profit employers that employ at least 100 full-time workers. Covered employees include supervisory, managerial, salaried, and hourly workers. However, business partners, striking workers, and temporary facility employees are not covered and are not entitled to notice.
The Act requires employers to give notice when (1) a plant is closing, (2) there is a mass layoff, or (3) over 500 employees are laid off at a single location. The Act also applies in situations in which an employee does not lose their job, but the employee experiences a work reduction of at least 50%. Generally, the Act requires employers to provide their employees with written notice at least 60 days before the closing. Employers cannot rely on verbal announcements, press releases, or notices included with a paycheck.
There are only three exceptions to the 60-day notice provision. An employer can avoid liability for lack of notice if it is a faltering company, if the company experiences unforeseeable business circumstances, or in the event of a natural disaster. Even though employers are given leeway in these instances, they must still provide notice as soon as possible. The notice must include an explanation of the reason for the layoff or closing, the separation date, bumping rights, and contact information of someone who can answer employee questions and concerns. Additionally, there are provisions if an employer sells all or part of the company.
Employees who believe their employer violated the WARN Act should contact a Texas employment attorney and file a claim as soon as possible. Timeliness is critical because complaints that do not comply with the statute of limitations may risk being dismissed.
Has Your Texas Employer Violated the WARN Act?
Unexpected layoffs can have life-altering repercussions for a worker and their family. If you believe your employer violated the WARN Act, you may be entitled to relief for the damages you sustained. The attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. have extensive experience handling these and other types of Texas employment claims. Contact our office at 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation with one of our employment lawyers.