Considering Layoffs? If You’re a Large Employer, Don’t Forget About the WARN Act

By George Russo posted 11-23-2022 11:08 AM


Over the last few weeks, Meta (Facebook’s parent company) laid off 11,000 employees, or 13% of its workforce, and Twitter laid off 3,500 employees, or about half of its workforce. What do these two layoffs have in common? First, that the tech industry is struggling with advertising revenue. But more importantly, both layoffs likely triggered the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

The WARN Act is a federal law that requires certain larger employers to provide 60 days’ notice to employees when layoffs affecting a certain number of employees occur. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government. Penalties for violation can include back wages during the 60-day period.

Many employers may have become acquainted with this law at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several exceptions may have applied and so no notice was required. Employers may have also utilized alternatives to layoffs, avoiding this law altogether. Those alternatives included furloughs, reduced hours, job sharing, and reductions in pay. If you are considering a layoff, Employers Council can discuss the pros and cons of each of these options and, if necessary, help you comply with the WARN Act. If you have any questions, please email the Member Experience Team.