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New Jersey Workers Layoffs and Options

Employee Layoff ClaimsEvery morning when you get out of bed, you head to work to do your job to the best of your ability with the belief that your boss will take all reasonable steps to maintain your employment. But as the US economy has recently undergone economic restructuring, there have been waves of layoffs, which has led to a generalized lack of work security.

Knowing your legal options after a layoff is crucial because being laid off can affect every part of your life. You have rights as a worker under both federal and New Jersey state law, but you might not be aware of the obligations your company must meet or how to exercise those rights. Due to the complexity of federal, state, and local labor and employment laws, conferring with a knowledgeable employment attorney is crucial.

Our employee layoff attorneys are currently investigating layoff claims and offering free consultations. Give us a call at 866-778-5500 or complete our online form to learn how we can help.

Are Employee Layoffs Legal?

Employers can move, downsize, or manage their workforces in response to changing economic interests under New Jersey legislation. Employers must abide by federal and state equitable employment laws because the right is not unqualified or absolute. Employers also need to follow the rules regarding compensation and layoff notice. NJ workers should consult a lawyer if they are unsure of their rights after being let go.

Federal WARN Act for Laid-Off Employees

By requiring employers to comply with notification requirements prior to layoffs and plant closures, the Federal Worker Readjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act safeguards employees, their families, and communities. Qualifying employers must have at least 100 full-time employees or 100 workers who put in a minimum of 4,000 hours per week in total to be covered by the government WARN Act.

The WARN Act defines “plant closings” as the closure of a single job site or at least one unit within that location. Mass layoffs are workforce cutbacks that cause the loss of jobs for 500 or more full-time employees or 50-499 full-time employees if the number of employees represents at least 33% of the employer’s total workforce.

Layoff Laws in New Jersey

If 50 or more full-time employees are affected by the layoff, relocation, or termination, the Act applies. The WARN Act in New Jersey currently mandates that companies with 100 or more full-time employees give 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff, transfer, or termination.

Know your options.

Amendments to the NJ WARN Act

Assembly Bill 4768, which Governor Murphy of New Jersey signed, amends the WARN Act and goes into force on April 10, 2023. The WARN Act, as amended in New Jersey, has three significant modifications.

Mandatory Severance

If an employee does not get the necessary notice, employers are liable for severance. The legislation now grants every employee the right to a notice period and severance pay. In accordance with a collective bargaining agreement or job contract, severance payments must be at least one week’s pay for each year of employment. Additionally, the law provides an extra four weeks of severance pay to employees who are terminated without providing 90 days’ notice.

Additional Notice Requirements

Employers are required to give 90 days’ warning of a layoff under the revised WARN Act.

Broader Definitions

The expanded WARN Act redefines “mass layoff” to mean the firing of at least 50 full-time or part-time employees who are employed by or reporting to any collection of establishments within New Jersey, as opposed to a single establishment. In addition, the changes apply to all NJ employers with 100 workers, whether they work full- or part-time. According to the changes, an “employer” is any organization or person in charge of severance benefits.

WARN Act Claims Against Employers

No Fee PromiseAn amount equivalent to back pay and benefits for the duration of the violation period, up to 60 days, may be recovered from an employer who violates the federal WARN Act by the affected employee. The amount of working days during the violation period is typically used by courts to calculate back pay. The number of calendar days in the violation period, however, has been used by some judges to calculate back pay. Employers who disregard the notice rule may also be subject to a civil penalty.

The NJ WARN Act also gives workers who were fired illegally the right to sue for compensatory damages. These employees may file a claim for damages for missed pay, benefits, and other losses. A greater quantity of damages may be recovered by the employee in situations where the employer violates both the federal and NJ WARN Acts.

What would happen if I waived the WARN notice requirements?

When offering a severance package, an employer will occasionally ask an employee to forego their right to WARN notification. Employees should seek legal advice in these situations to fully grasp the implications of accepting a release. In New Jersey, employees can only give up their right to severance with permission of the state or a court.

If you were laid off by your employer in New Jersey, contact our employee layoff attorneys at 866-778-5500 or complete our online form to learn your legal options.

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