Since last fall, news of layoffs in the technology sector have set off a ripple effect in a variety of other industries. Companies engaging in layoffs must be thoughtful and prepared when it comes to taking such action. While the construction industry generally has one of the highest layoff rates, and human resource personnel may be very knowledgeable with regard to related risks and exposure, there are a number of additional issues to consider when there are mass layoffs or closings. Further, expensive litigation awaits if companies are not meticulous in complying with state and federal laws regarding such large scale reductions in force.
Under federal law, the primary legislation governing mass layoffs and closing is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act which generally covers employers with 100 or more employees. This law was enacted to protect employees by requiring companies to provide 60 days’ notice to employees in advance of certain plant closings and mass layoffs. In addition, many states, such as California, Connecticut and New York, have enacted similar state laws, referred to as “mini-WARN” laws, which impose additional requirements, including increasing the length of the required advance notice and broadening the scope of employers to which the law applies.
Reprinted courtesy of Abby M. Warren and Sapna Jain, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.