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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Legal Issues Associated with Employees Layoffs

Every layoff creates a number of critical, and possibly expensive, legal issues for an employer. While from an employer's perspective these issues require development of a defense strategy, every employee must understand where State and Federal laws are protecting them from potential harm, whether facing a potential layoff situation or dealing with the aftermath of being laid off.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)WARN is a federal law requiring employers of more than 100 employees to give written layoff notice at least 60 days before any plant closing or “mass layoff.” A number of states also have WARN acts that may have even stricter requirements and apply to even smaller employers.

Discrimination laws. Federal and state discrimination laws, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), prohibit workers in protected classes from suffering unlawful disparate impact or disparate treatment because of a reduction in force (RIF) actions initiated by employers.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)Employees on FMLA leave may be protected against a reduction in force unless it can be shown that they would have lost their positions even if the FMLA leave hadn’t been taken.

COBRAThis federal law requires most employers that sponsor group health plans for their employees to allow certain employees and their dependents who would otherwise lose coverage under the plan because they left their job or certain other events (typically, a layoff) to pay to continue that coverage for a specified period of time.
Other issues employers need to consider during a layoff. Other issues that can get employers in legal trouble when carrying out layoffs:
  • Retaliation
  • Worker’s compensation claims
  • EEOC claims
  • Poor documentation
  • Inadequate document retention
  • Employees protected by whistle-blower laws
  • Badly crafted severance agreements and waivers.
Besides the links available in the body of this article, you can find more resources associated with employment related legal issues on this web site. You can start by using the Search Bar (located at the upper-right section of the main page). Simply type "legal" or choose the search term appropriate for your needs.

Your comments or questions are welcome. Use the link below the article to submit your input.

--Dr. Flywheel

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