Legal Alert: New York WARN Act - New Burdens on Employers

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On February 1, 2009, the New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("NYWA") goes into effect. Although it is based on the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act ("WARN"), the NYWA is much broader; it adds new concepts that are unclearly drafted and likely to cause confusion and litigation if it is not revised. For example, unlike WARN, the NYWA could be read to apply to a single employee's termination or relocation. The NYWA provides, "an employer may not order . . . [an] employment loss" without giving notice. "Employment loss" is defined to include "an employment termination, other than a discharge for cause, voluntary departure or retirement." (The NYWA inexplicably omits "plant closing" as a notice-triggering event, but clearly intended that plant closings require notice as it defines and refers to "plant closings" elsewhere in the statute.) Since the NYWA does not require a minimum number of employees at the site being moved, a "relocation" technically could occur if an employer decides to "relocate" a site with just a single employee. Further, the NYWA requires an employer to notify certain government entities before it terminates anyone without cause or face a $500 dollar penalty for each day notice is not given.

Please see full alert for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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