COVID-19 Layoffs & WARN Act Protections for Workers

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Firm News |

The health scare caused by the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 is only half of the trouble it is causing around the globe. The other half is widespread economic turmoil, triggered by important social distancing guidelines and quarantines that keep people in their homes and many businesses out of work. Millions of Americans who have been furloughed by their employers have already filed for unemployment benefits in just a few weeks. Unfortunately, large layoffs may come in the near future.

Under federal law, large employers cannot abruptly lay off a significant portion of their workforce without fair and advanced warning. The federal “WARN Act” requires at least a 60-day notice be sent to employees before a mass layoff.

A mass layoff is defined as the termination of:

  • 500 or more full-time employees at a “single site of employment”; or
  • 50 to 499 full-time employees if that number reflects at least 33% of the total workforce.

Compensation Through the WARN Act

The WARN Act does not just require your employer to give you reasonable warning about a pending mass layoff. It is also a means to seek compensation due to mass layoffs mishandled by your employer. If no warning is given according to the act’s rules, then affected workers can file a claim for compensation. Damages paid can be equal to the amount of pay a worker would have made at work had a proper 60-day warning been given.

For example, if you were given no warning at all, then you could file a claim for 60 days’ worth of pay. Or, if you were given only 30 days of warning, then your claim would demand 30 days’ worth of pay.

It is also common for the United States Department of Labor to order employers in violation of the WARN Act to pay all court and attorney fees related to successful plaintiff cases. This aspect of the law allows more workers to file WARN Act claims without worry after being laid off due to coronavirus disruptions.

COVID-19 Mass Layoff Claims in Georgia & Florida

Pratt Clay LLC proudly defends the rights of working people in Georgia, Florida, and beyond. In these uncertain times, unscrupulous employers might conduct mass layoffs under the pretense of business interruption from COVID-19/coronavirus. However, the federal WARN Act protects workers for large companies — any company with 100 or more full-time employees — from being laid off without at least 60 days’ notice.

Our WARN Act attorneys are currently investigating claims, lawsuits, and class actions on behalf of workers terminated without the notice required by federal law. If you have been laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, we may be able to help you, too.

Please consider the following questions about your employment and termination:

  • Do you work for a company that employs 100 or more people full-time?
  • Have you been part of a layoff that is not the result of a plant closing?
  • Did that layoff include either (1) at least 33% of the employees and at least 50 employees, or (2) at least 500 employees?
  • Did you receive less than 60 days’ notice before being laid off?

If you answered “yes” to all four of these questions, then you might have a legal claim under the federal WARN Act or similar state law. Don’t let an unscrupulous employer use COVID-19/coronavirus as an excuse to lay off workers and increase corporate profits! Please contact an attorney at Pratt Clay immediately to see if we can help get you the compensation you deserve.

Free consultations are available. Call 404-566-9460 at any time.