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Compliance Assistance Resources

elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- WARN Advisor

What Happens if I Do Not Properly Notify My Employees?

If you fail to notify your employees or their representatives, you are liable to each affected employee for an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days. Your employees may sue you in Federal Court or, if they are represented by a union, the union may sue on their behalf. The courts are split on how to measure the amount of back pay available to workers. The majority of courts hold that back pay is measured by the number of work days in the violation period. There are some courts, however, that hold that back pay is measured by the number of calendar days in the violation period.

WARN recognizes a "good faith" defense to lessen the amount of damages for which an employer may be liable. If an employer can show that it acted in good faith in trying to comply with WARN, its damages may be reduced or eliminated

If you fail to provide notice as required to a unit of local government, you are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each day of violation. The penalty may be avoided if you satisfy the liability to each affected employee within three weeks after the closing.

In any suit, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs.