The WARN Act Florida
FairLaw Firm provides legal assistance for issues related to the WARN Act in Florida. Consult our experienced attorneys for guidance and support.
About the Florida Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
If you have been affected by a mass layoff in Florida, you might understandably be in a really tough place financially and emotionally. If you were not given advance notice well before the layoff took place, your employer may have violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, and you may be entitled to compensation.
Consider consulting an employment lawyer to determine whether the WARN Act applies to you and your employer.
What Is the WARN Act?
The WARN Act, 29 USC §2100 et. seq, is a federal law that provides for the rights of employees who may be affected by mass layoffs and plant closings. The Act requires covered employers to give all employees who will lose their jobs in a mass layoff or plant closing at least 60 days advance notice. The purpose of such notice is to allow affected workers enough time to find other jobs or undergo necessary retraining.
Employees not given proper notice in line with this Act may be able to seek damages in a U.S. District Court, including back pay and benefits for each day of violation. However, not all employees and employers are covered under this Act. Only those who meet certain requirements are affected by the WARN Act.
While many states have local WARN Acts, Florida employees are only covered by the federal WARN Act provisions.
Covered Employees Under the WARN Act
Affected employees of a mass layoff or plant closing are entitled to WARN notice if their employer is covered by the WARN Act. A covered employer is any private and quasi-public business with:
- At least 100 full-time employees, excluding workers with fewer than six months on the job or who work less than 20 hours per week
- At least 100 employees who work up to 4,000 combined hours weekly
According to §2101(a) of the WARN Act, affected employees include those who:
- Are laid off for over six months as part of a mass layoff or plant closing
- Have their work hours reduced by 50% or more in any 6-month period due to the mass layoff or plant closing
- Can be reasonably expected to lose their jobs due to the proposed plant closing or mass layoff
Because only private and quasi-public businesses are considered covered employers, federal, state, and local government employees are not protected under the WARN Act.
WARN Notice Requirements
Under the WARN Act, covered employers must give written notice at least 60 days before ordering a mass layoff or plant closing. WARN notices can be served directly to the employees or to their union representatives. They must also be served to the State or a designated state entity.
In order for a WARN notice to be valid, it must be in writing and include the following information:
The name and address of the place where the plant closing or mass layoff is to take place
The information of a company contact person from whom the affected employees can get more information
A statement about whether the planned action is temporary or permanent
The expected date of the said action and its schedule or timeframe
The affected job positions, along with the number of people in each affected position
The notice can also include extra information to help the employee find a new job. For example, they could provide information on the available dislocated workers assistance.
Actions that Trigger the WARN Act
Before taking action against your employer for failing to comply with the WARN Act provisions, it is crucial to discern whether the circumstances under which you were discharged trigger the employer’s WARN notice obligation.
A qualified plant closing under the WARN Act is the shutdown of a single site of employment of a facility within a single site that affects at least 50 employees at a single employment site, not including part-time workers.
A mass layoff triggers a WARN notice obligation if it causes the discharge of:
500 or more workers at a single employment site within a 30-day period, excluding part-time workers
50 to 499 full-time workers and the layoffs constitute 33% of the employer’s total active workforce, excluding part-timers, at the employment site
A temporary mass layoff that meets the above description also triggers the WARN notice requirement if it is later extended beyond six months unless the extension was due to an unforeseeable event.
Are There Exemptions to the 60-Day WARN Notice Requirement?
A layoff or plant closing can only take place after the end of the 60-day period after all affected employees are served a notice. However, some situations exempt employers from this obligation and only require them to notify their workers as soon as is practicable. According to §2102(b) of the act, such situations are:
Unforeseeable business circumstances
Seeking capital or business to prevent a shutdown and issuing a WARN notice would hinder such efforts
Employers are still expected to include the necessary information in the notice in addition to an explanation as to why the notice period was reduced.
Let FairLaw Firm Help You
If you believe you have been a victim of a WARN Act violation, our employment lawyers in Miami can help you. Figuring out whether your job loss qualifies for compensation under the Warn Act may be tricky. We can examine your case to determine the right course of action.
FairLaw Firm is a leading employment law firm with decades of experience in supporting and representing Florida employees. We have a proven track record of helping victims of employment violations obtain fair and equitable compensation for their damages. We may be able to help you, too!
Contact FairLaw Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.