New Jersey Mass Layoffs Lawyers
New Jersey and federal laws require employers who conduct “mass layoffs” or “plant closings” to provide affected employees with at least 60 days’ advance notice. If the required notice is not provided, both laws allow employees to bring lawsuits for money damages and attorney’s fees.
Definition of “Mass Layoff” or “Plant Closing.” The federal law mass layoff law is called the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”). The state law is called the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (Millville Act) but is also known as the “baby WARN Act.” The definitions of “mass layoff” or “plant closing” is slightly different under federal and state law. They each apply to businesses that have 100 or more full-time employees and their definition of “plant closings” and “mass layoffs” are similar.
Under the federal WARN Act a “plant closing” is defined as the permanent shutdown of a plant or site resulting in 50 or more employees losing their jobs during any 30 day period. “Plant closing” under the Millville Act is similar, but also includes temporary shutdowns or transfers operations.
A “mass layoff” under the WARN act is one where either 500 or more employees are laid off at a single site within a 30 day period, or 50 or more employees are laid off if they represent at least 33% of the workforce at the site. A mass layoff under the Millville Act is identical except that with 50 or more employees are laid off they must represent a third of the workforce at the site.
Notice Required. Under the WARN Act, at least 60 days’ notice of the closing or layoff must be provided to the affected employees, or if they are in a union, to the union itself. The notice must provide the name and address of the site where the closing or layoff will occur; whether the closing or layoff is permanent or temporary; the number and job titles of affected employees; whether there are bumping rights; and, the name and telephone number of a company official to contact.
The Millville Act also requires at least 60 days’ notice, which must be provided both to the affected employees and their unions if applicable. The notice must include the number of employees to be laid off and the date of the layoff; the reasons for the layoff; information about any alternate employment opportunities available through that employer; a statement of employee rights regarding wages, severance pay, benefits, pension, etc. relating to the layoff; and the amount of statutory severance pay required under the Act.
What You Can Sue For. If you are laid off in a “plant closing” or “mass layoff” and you do not receive the 60 days’ notice required by these laws, both laws give you the right to sue for money damages and attorney’s fees. However, the damages you can sue for are different under the two acts.
Under the WARN Act, each affected employees can sue for an amount of money equal to back pay and benefits for the period of violation. In other words, if your employer only gives 30 days’ notice instead of the required 60, you would be entitled to sue for 30 days of pay and benefits.
Under the Millville Act, if you do not receive 60 days’ notice, you are entitled to sue for severance pay. The amount of severance pay under the Act is equal to one week of pay for each full year you have been employed. This is in addition to any other severance pay you are entitled to for any other reason. For example, if you are entitled to severance pay under your union’s collective bargaining agreement you should receive this severance pay in addition to that required under the Millville Act. Note, however, that any back pay provided by the employer pursuant to the WARN Act is credited towards the severance pay required by the Millville act.
How We Can Help. Often, if you are a member of a union, the union itself will file a lawsuit against your employer for violations of the WARN Act or the Millville Act on behalf of all its affected members. If this happens, and you are happy with your union’s representation, there is no need for you to go out and find your own lawyer and file your own lawsuit. However, the right to sue under the WARN Act and the Millville Act does not belong to the union, it belongs to you individually. If you are not a member of a union, or you are unhappy with your union’s representation, you should find your own lawyer with experience in mass layoffs law to discuss options for filing your own lawsuit.
At Lawrence & Gerges, we are a team of trial lawyers with experience in plant closings and mass layoffs law. If you have been affected by a plant closing all mass layoff, and you believe you may not have received proper notice, call us for a free consultation. If we believe in your case, we offer contingent fee retainers, meaning you do not need to pay us up front, and we will only get paid if we recover money for you.