Posts tagged WARN Act.
Time 5 Minute Read

The Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in Messer et al. v. Bristol Compressors International, LLC et. al. that should serve as a cautionary tale to employers planning to use severance agreements when implementing layoffs.  There, the court considered three questions.  First, whether Bristol Compressors validly eliminated its severance plan before terminating Plaintiffs’ employment.  Second, whether certain Plaintiffs who signed a Stay Bonus Letter Agreement (“SBLA”) waived their claims against Bristol Compressors.  And third, whether four of the Plaintiffs received adequate notice under the WARN Act before their employment was terminated.

Time 4 Minute Read

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act requires employers to give employees at least 60 days’ notice when a “mass layoff” is about to occur at a “single site of employment,” which is typically a single location or a group of contiguous work locations.  Courts are beginning to confront the question of what constitutes a “single site of employment” under the WARN Act for employees working remotely, and how remote work policies impact class certification considerations.  Given the prevalence of remote work during the pandemic and the likely continuation of such work arrangements, these decisions are of particular importance to employers considering mass layoffs or facing class actions based on the application of remote work policies or practices.

Time 4 Minute Read

While COVID-19 may have hit the business community like a hurricane, whether the pandemic, in fact, qualifies for a natural disaster exception under the federal law requiring businesses to warn employees of impending layoffs, remains an open question.

This February, a federal judge paved the way for the Eleventh Circuit to weigh in on whether a class action can proceed against an employer who was forced to lay off employees due to COVID-19.  That case, Benson v. Enter. Leasing Co. of Orlando, LLC, is one of the first to look at the application of pandemic-related layoffs to the Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act of 1988, 29 U.S.C. § 2100 et seq. (“WARN Act”). Underscoring the case’s importance to the business community, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has just filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief asking the Eleventh Circuit to take up the case and provide “much-needed guidance” to other courts across the country.

Time 7 Minute Read

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed employers to an influx of novel employment law issues.  Many employers already have experienced an uptick in related internal complaints or litigation. Below we identify five particular employment law liabilities employers may be exposed to once the dust settles from the pandemic.

Wage and Hour Claims

The shift to telework during the coronavirus pandemic has forced many employers to set aside traditional tracking mechanisms that are used to determine when employees take breaks and clock off. As a result, employers may be vulnerable to employee claims that employers failed to provide and/or pay for all required meal periods, rest breaks, and overtime for remote and on-site employees. To proactively minimize potential wage and hour related claims, employers should ensure to the extent possible that employees are properly compensated for all hours worked. In addition, employers can minimize minimum wage violations by complying with applicable federal, state and local laws that may require employers to reimburse employees for certain expenses incurred in order to telework, such as cell phone, high-speed internet, or other equipment costs. Moreover, employers should consider encouraging managers to execute best supervisory practices in the telework environment, including setting clear expectations with employees, conducting regular check-ins, promptly addressing issues, and making other efforts to maintain clear communication.

Time 2 Minute Read

No doubt recognizing the unprecedented impact on business, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order suspending the notice requirements under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), Cal. Lab. Code §§ 1401(a), 1402, 1403. The Executive Order suspends existing law that could have otherwise required employers to provide 60 days’ notice before instituting mass layoffs, relocations, or terminations, and could potentially have imposed steep penalties on employers who failed to do so.  Certain notice obligations remain, however, under the Executive Order.

Time 5 Minute Read


Jurisdiction may be the most important factor organizations should take into consideration when offshoring.  Some countries do not recognize certain U.S. legal doctrines, such as confidentiality agreements, and without proper jurisdiction an organization may be unable to enforce its contract with a vendor.

When selecting an offshore country, organizations should consider whether the country permits a choice of law provision which would allow courts to apply U.S. law.  If the country permits choice of law provisions, the provision should be well defined in the contract so that there is no ambiguity.  Organizations should also consider working with counsel in the offshore country to assist with legal intricacies, even if a United States choice of law provision is permissible.

Time 4 Minute Read

A Mississippi Bankruptcy Court recently addressed several employer defenses to liability under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”), which is noteworthy in the context of the current economy.  In re FF Acquisition Corp. d/b/a Flexible Flyer, 423 B.R. 502 (Bankr. N.D. Miss. January 20, 2010).

Time 1 Minute Read

The drama in late 2008 surrounding the factory shutdown of Republic Window & Doors in Chicago, Illinois, highlighted for banks and other financial institutions the potential backlash when a debtor business fails.  In that situation, the factory's lender faced a public relations challenge when it declined (with good reason) to continue a line of credit for a failing company.  The company said it could not continue because its lender was not willing to continue funding its operations, and its employees staged a sit in to protest the bank's action.  Illinois Governor (at that time) Rod ...


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