Layoffs & Closings

Losing a job, especially without warning, can be one of life’s most disturbing experiences.  Employees in these situations may be protected by federal and local “WARN” laws.

These WARN laws let you see into the future - to know in advance that your job is going away. These laws require employers to give advanced notice of a job loss prior to shutting down a large worksite or conducting a large layoff.

The purpose of these laws is to give employees time to prepare for job loss, to arrange their financial affairs, to look for new work, to take a deep breath, focus, and figure out what to do next. 

Outten & Golden attorneys represent clients who have WARN Act claims, because they lost their jobs without enough notice in mass layoffs or plant closings (which includes shutdowns of worksites, offices or other facilities).

Outten & Golden’s WARN lawyers are particularly experienced in this area of the law.  They have had the honor of representing employees in more reported WARN cases, since these laws have been on the books, than any other lawyers.

How the WARN Act works for you – when your work is taken away

The federal notice statute is called the WARN Act, and several states have “mini-warn acts” which add to its protections.  These WARN Acts cover employees across virtually all industries, whether they are blue- and white-collar workers, salaried or hourly, part-time or full-time. 

These laws recognize that when a company withholds notice of coming job loss, it harms not only employees, but their families, and communities.  A surprise job loss hinders the employee’s ability to overcome its ill effects, compared to the person who gets a running start by getting advanced notice.  To compensate for the injury, the employer must pay the employee 60 days’ wages and benefits. This represents the pre-termination period in which the employee could have minimized the hardships, had notice been given.  In addition, the employer pays compensation for expenses incurred due to the loss of benefits which would have continued during that WARN notice period.  This may include health insurance expenditures as well as medical care and pharmacy expenses.

To obtain these payments for clients, Outten & Golden lawyers prosecute the WARN claims not just for certain employees, but on behalf of all the employees affected by the mass layoff or shutdown. These cases are known as class actions.

Class actions do not require you to sue, or even to join, once they are started

WARN claims are almost always class actions – a type of lawsuit in which the plaintiff is a group not an individual.  This spares individual employees from having to fight on their own.  It is only fitting and fair that WARN cases are class actions.  After all, employers treat employees as a group when terminating them in a plant closing or large, mass layoff (also called a "RIF," short for "reduction in force").  A WARN action is naturally a class action, which the law recognizes.  It is not an individual, “he-said, she-said” case.  It is the group – that the employer created – that is asking for their notice pay, to set the ledgers straight.  It is efficient and economical, especially because employees in a class action bear no direct expense or burden to actively participate in the litigation.  They can “sit back,” once one employee agrees to represent the group.

Who the class includes

Groups as small as 50 or as large as thousands of employees may all be covered in a single WARN class action.  These groups will include those who worked at the particular worksites where the layoff or shutdown occurred, and even those who worked remotely, such as from home or the road.  If they reported to the site, even by computer, they may also be considered part of a layoff or shutdown, and class members in the WARN class action.

Class action litigation requires a particular expertise, resources, and skill to prosecute successfully. Outten & Golden attorneys have substantial experience prosecuting and settling employment class actions and are well versed in class action law, particularly in mass layoffs and plant closings. 

How to begin

Starting a class action begins with a call.  There is no charge.  Ask Outten & Golden’s WARN Act team to find out more by contacting us.  We can help you now.  You can also visit Outten & Golden's WARN Act website for more information.

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News

Fisker Faced With Class-Action Suit Over Mass Layoffs

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Publications & Articles

A Practitioner's Overview of the Deficiencies of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act Twenty Years Following its Enactment

René S. Roupinian, NELA, The New York Employee Advocate, Volume 14, No. 5, June 2008

An overview from a litigator’s perspective of the main deficiencies in the WARN Act, including hurdles not contemplated by Congress that have made WARN Act litigation difficult and often nearly impossible in ways not envisioned by Congress twenty years ago. Some of these deficiencies have been addressed by the current proposed legislation, namely S. 1792 and H.R. 3920 (which the House approved in October 2007), others have not, but should be considered as critical to making WARN a viable tool for achieving Congress’ purpose of providing advance notice to terminated employees.

A Practitioner's Overview of the Deficiencies of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act Twenty Years Following its Enactment

René S. Roupinian, NELA, The New York Employee Advocate, Volume 14, No. 5, June 2008

An overview from a litigator’s perspective of the main deficiencies in the WARN Act, including hurdles not contemplated by Congress that have made WARN Act litigation difficult and often nearly impossible in ways not envisioned by Congress twenty years ago. Some of these deficiencies have been addressed by the current proposed legislation, namely S. 1792 and H.R. 3920 (which the House approved in October 2007), others have not, but should be considered as critical to making WARN a viable tool for achieving Congress’ purpose of providing advance notice to terminated employees.

Fair Warning For Workers

Discussion of some of the complexities involved with WARN Act cases. Employment attorneys Jack Raisner & Rene Roupinian. (August 2010)