We are in difficult economic times. There are mass layoffs hitting every industry. And now it comes to your job. You come into work one day and your employer tells you to go home, you are laid off on the spot. You may have rights under the WARN Act (The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act). Bottom line, you may be entitled to 60 days of severance pay under Federal law or 90 days of severance pay under New York State Law.
The policy behind the WARN Act is that workers should have a period to adjust to the fact that they are going to lose their job to allow them to make plans for their future. The 90 day period under New York State law is not really an adequate amount of time, since it can take months to find another job. But it is better than nothing. Also note that the WARN Act notice can be given while you are still working, so you have to look for a job as your current job winds down.
The WARN Act rules are technical. Under Federal WARN Act Law, some employers are required to give 60 days notice in advance of a layoff. If during any thirty day period, your employer shuts down a site where 100 or more employees have been working more than 20 hours per week for at least the last 6 months, and 50 or more employees are let go, or if the employer does not shut the site, but lets go 500 or more employees (or if there are between 50 and 499 employees, 33% are let go), than your employer may be required to give you 60 days notice of your being laid off. This would be mean 60 days severance pay if you don’t get the proper notice. The New York State Warn Act covers smaller employers (50 or more employees) and smaller layoffs (25 or more employees).
There are exceptions where you employer does not have the full period of notice. For example, if the company is faltering and the company is actively seeking capital to continue in business, and the notice would hurt the possibility of funding. Or, if there are unforeseen business circumstances - say a major order was cancelled unexpectedly. Or, say the company has to close because of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.
There may also be mass layoff situations where a particular group is targeted, in which case there may be a discrimination claim. You may also be entitled to severance payments if your employer has a written severance plan or a practice or written policy of giving severance to employees who are laid off without fault of their own.
In our more than 25 years of experience, we have helped many employees who were laid off and did not get severance pay.
Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 for a free initial consultation today to determine whether you have not been given proper notice under The WARN Act.