Hand separate group of wooden dolls. Mass layoffs, downsizing concept.

The WARN Act protects workers in New York by requiring employers to provide notice before a mass layoff. When employers don’t comply with the WARN Act, they can be required to pay penalties to affected employees, including back pay and employment benefits for 60 days.

Knowing your rights under the WARN Act is crucial if you’ve been laid off in a plant closure or mass layoff. You may be entitled to 60 days of additional pay and benefits. The employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP can help you understand your rights. We have extensive experience holding employers accountable through a class-action lawsuit against your employer. 

The Purpose of the WARN Act

The WARN Act gives workers much-needed time to prepare to be laid off. When employees notice that they’ll be laid off, they have time to learn more about unemployment insurance training programs and to look for employment elsewhere. 

When laid-off employees have adequate notice, the likelihood of finding new employment increases. The WARN Act also allows employees to learn about unemployment support from local government agencies, unemployment insurance, and workforce training programs. 

The Federal WARN Act

The federal government and the state of New York have passed WARN Acts. Although the federal and state laws are similar in nature, they have some important differences. Under the New York WARN Act, employers must provide employees with notice:

  • Whether the layoff is temporary or permanent
  • The date of the layoff and the last date of work
  • Contact information for employees to receive additional information

Employers must provide a written WARN notice, as a verbal announcement is insufficient. Notices included in an employee’s regular pay statement do not meet the New York WARN Act requirement.

The New York WARN Act

Under the New York WARN Act, employees can file a lawsuit through the New York court system for WARN violations, including class action lawsuits. Employers who violate the WARN Act can be required to pay the employee back wages, employment benefits, and a $500 civil penalty for every day the violation continues. 

Under the New York WARN Act, employers must provide notice of closures or layoffs, including specific information. Employers must give employees time to prepare for losing their jobs and look for a new job. Specifically, the layoff notice must include the following:

  • Whether the layoff is temporary or permanent
  • The final date of work 
  • The date of the layoff
  • Contact information
  • Additional information about resources for employees who’ve been laid off

When New York employers violate the WARN Act, they can be required to pay back pay to affected workers and pay daily fines. Suppose a company in New York laid off 500 workers and failed to provide a WARN notice or failed to provide a notice with all of the required information. In that case, employees have the right to file a class action lawsuit for 60 days of pay and employment benefits for every worker.

The Differences Between the New York and Federal WARN Act

The New York WARN Act protects workers more than its federal counterpart. For example, while the federal law requires employers to provide employees with 60 days’ notice before a plant closure or layoff, the New York law requires 90 days’ notice. The New York law applies to more companies, including companies with at least 50 employees. On the other hand, the federal law only applies to companies with at least 100 employees. 

What Constitutes a Mass Layoff?

Under the New York WARN Act, a mass layoff occurs when 25 employees, at least one-third of the company’s workforce, are laid off, or 250 employees who worked at a single employment site are laid off.

Under federal law, layoffs must affect at least 50 employees, which must be at least one-third of the workforce, within a 30-day time frame. Alternatively, when 500 employees are laid off within 30 days, it is considered a mass layoff, regardless of the company’s size. Finally, closing down a worksite and laying off at least 50 workers within 30 days is considered a mass layoff. 

What To Do If You Were Laid Off and Didn’t Receive a WARN Act Notice

If you were laid off with at least 25 other employees or because your plant closed, and you didn’t receive a WARN Act Notice, you should speak to an employment attorney as soon as possible. You may have the right to pursue a claim for sixty days’ pay plus employment benefits. 

Even if you did receive a WARN Act notice, you might still have a claim for back pay. You’ll benefit from working with an attorney who can review the notice and help you understand whether it meets the requirements of the WARN Act. For example, your employer may have falsely stated in the notice that they were exempt from providing you with a full 60-day notice. 

They may claim unforeseeable business circumstances that negatively impacted their company, such as trying to seek additional financing, as an excuse for not providing you with the full 60 days’ notice. 

However, employers cannot use these excuses to justify the failure to provide written notice of impending layoffs. They are required to provide employees with sufficient and factually correct explanations for the failure to provide 60 days’ notice. The attorneys at 

Lipsky Lowe LLP will review your case and help you determine whether you have a claim. We know how to hold employers accountable for failure to comply with the WARN Act.

Contact a WARN Attorney in New York City Today

The WARN Act applies to many workplaces and industries in New York. If you’ve been laid off in New York and your employer didn’t give you adequate notice, you may be entitled to back pay and employment benefits. The employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are prepared to answer your questions and help you pursue your rights as a worker. Don’t hesitate to contact our New York City employment attorneys to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.