Our New York Layoff and Severance Lawyers recently spoke at an event to discuss the New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (NY WARN) and the layoffs affecting New York employees. Since that that event, in July 2010, the New York State Department of Labor published new rules which went into effect immediately. Similar to the Federal WARN statute, under some circumstances, the NY WARN statute requires employers to provide written notice to employees when mass layoffs or plant closings are planned. The New York WARN statute is actually broader than the federal statute in that it requires employers to provide 60 days notice of eligible mass layoffs and plant closings as opposed to the Federal law which only requires 90 days notice in specific situations. Not all mass layoffs or plant closings require an WARN notice. Our employment law attorneys can assist you in determining your employment rights if you are being laid off in New York. Call now to speak with our team of employment lawyers to learn your workplace rights and determine if your employer is complying with all of its requirements under WARN.
The New York State WARN statute is more expansive in several respects than the Federal WARN statute. Not only does it require a shorter notice period, it applies to more employers (i.e., employers with 50 employees) and covers more mass layoffs (i.e., where 25 or more employees are let go) than than the Federal WARN statute. Below are some of the new rules applicable to the New York State WARN law:
1. Revisions to the required language which must be included in the WARN Notices. These notices must be provided to affected employees. The notice must include specific language.
2. Employers are now required to issue a “rescission notice” to affected employees if after a WARN Notice is issued, the employer decides to continue operations. This is not required under the federal law.
3. Officers, shareholders and directors are not considered “affected employees” under the NY statute and, as such, are not required to receive a WARN Notice. In addition, officers, shareholders and directors are not counted towards the minimum employee requirements to determine if an employer is covered by the New York State WARN statute. This rule change may turn some employers into exempt employers and remove the need for them complying with the state WARN statute.
4. If an employer assets a mitigation defense or exemption under the statute, it must provide written documentation supporting its defense and/or exemption.
5. The applicable number of employees is often subject to change and sometimes confusion. The new rules state that the number of employees are to be counted and considered for exemption purposes when the first notice would be required. For example, if an employer had 45 employees when a notice would have been required, it may be exempt under the state law because it had fewer than 50 employees.
These layoff requirements are technical in nature. It is not always easy to understand if your employer has been complying with them during a stressful time. Many employers fail to follow the requirements. Even law firms have been the subject of WARN complaints. Our New York employment law attorneys can guide you and protect you. Call now (800) 893-9645.
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