Q.How should an employer implement a mass layoff or plant closing?
A.Pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, any business with 100 or more employees, must give its employees 60 days advance notice if:
- a single plant will close causing 50 or more full time employees to lose their job within a 30 day period;
- the business will lay off 50 or more full time employees at a single plant within a 30 day period, and the layoffs involve 33 percent of the business' total workforce; or
- the business will lay off 500 or more full time employees at a single plant.
An employer subject to the Act, may be except from the 60 day notice requirement if: (a) the employer is seeking financing to avoid the closing or layoffs; (b) a natural disaster occurs; or (c) the plant closing or layoffs were unforseeable.
If the employer fails to provide the requisite notice, and is obligated to do so, then a former employee may sue the employer for back wages for each day of the violation (maximum 60 working days).