The WARN Act and Employee Rights

Although the struggling economy has caused many employers to layoff employees in an attempt to save money, Congress has enacted a law to provide notification to workers before layoffs occur. Employees should know about their rights under the WARN Act if they lose their job because of a layoff or a business closing. If your rights under the WARN Act have been violated, we encourage you to speak with a Tennessee employment lawyer immediately.

What is the WARN Act?

Enacted by Congress over 20 years ago, the WARN Act is also known as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. If your company has one hundred or more employees and the worker has worked for at least six months in the past year and for at least twenty hours per week, the law provides that the company or business must notify the employees in writing at least sixty days before closing down the business or laying off employees. Those employees who are entitled to advance notice include both hourly and salaried workers as well as managers and supervisors. While the WARN Act applies to private businesses, it does not apply to federal and state government businesses that provide public services.

Does the WARN Act Protect Me?

If your company or business has more than one hundred employees and you work more than twenty hours per week, the WARN Act provides protection to you. However, the WARN Act may not provide protection to those:

  • Working less than twenty hours per week
  • Who have gone on strike
  • Who are independent contractors or short term workers
When does the WARN Act Apply to Me?
  • If your business or company is closing- Under the WARN Act, businesses must provide workers with sixty days notice if the business is closing or shutting down and if fifty or more workers will be terminated during one month.

  • If the business plans to layoff a large number of employees- Under the WARN Act, businesses must give workers sixty days notice if they plan to remain open but layoff five hundred or more employees in one month or if the layoffs include a minimum of thirty-three percent of the workers in the business. The business or company may also have to give sixty days notice to employees if the layoffs are less than thirty-three percent of the workers in one month but the layoffs increase to that percentage within three months of major layoffs or the business closing.
Contacting The Higgins Firm with a WARN Act Claim

If you were not given sixty days notice before a major layoff or the close of your employer, we encourage you to speak with one of our experienced Tennessee employment attorneys as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation as a result. At The Higgins Firm, we will be happy to assist you and answer any questions that you may have relating to your WARN Act claim. Our goal is to ensure that your rights are protected fully under the law.