Special Counsel David Van Pelt
authored the Daily Journal
article “Did DNAinfo/Gothamist Shutdown Require WARNing?” discussing whether the DNAinfo/Gothamist closure and employee termination violates the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
The WARN Act requires employers to provide advance written notice to employees, certain government agencies and employee unions in the case of mass layoffs or a company closure. The WARN Act also requires 60 days’ notice (90 days’ notice under New York’s own WARN statute) prior to mass employee layoffs or facility closures; otherwise, the employer is liable to employees for wages and employee benefits during the period for which notice is not provided.
David notes two factors that may lessen or eliminate DNAinfo’s liability: 1) whether or not DNAinfo’s liability under the WARN laws falls within the minimum employee threshold; and 2) the fact that many laid-off employees have remained on “paid administrative leave” through February 2, 2018 following the closure announcement, and are expected to receive their full salary and benefits through that date.
“An employer’s obligations and liability under WARN can vary tremendously, depending on where employee terminations occur and what creative steps are taken by companies to negate or lessen their monetary exposure,” David wrote. “In the case of DNAinfo, while it may appear that it acted without any concern for WARN obligations, the company may had WARN laws in mind all along.”
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