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Downsizing and WARN Act ON YOUR TEAM

Tough times often force employers to make tough decisions on the size and extent of their workforce. Barnes & Thornburg attorneys have counseled clients on how best to navigate the mine fields present when a reduction in force (RIF) is necessary.

We have worked with clients on how to best plan for and execute downsizing, including:

  • Planning layoffs to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
  • Giving notices, including required disclosures, in a WARN Act situation
  • Drafting severance and release agreements
  • Analysis of potential withdrawal liability issues in unionized environments
  • Negotiating with unions over organized employers- downsizing

Barnes & Thornburg attorneys also advise clients on the proper ways to create and use evaluation tools that will result in the selection of workers for termination in a RIF, using procedures that are compliant with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

  • On June 19, 2013, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for firm client Faurecia Exhaust Systems, Inc. in a case where 70+ former employees claimed the company had violated the WARN Act and failed to provide the requisite 60-days’ notice prior to a mass layoff. The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the unforeseeable business circumstances exception applied such that Faurecia was not required to provide the advance notice. The court also noted that Faurecia was not even required to provide a conditional notice of the mass layoff as the regulations addressing the WARN Act permit conditional notice but do not require it.



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