Losing a job is never a pleasant experience. However, when the layoff comes suddenly and unexpectedly, it can be even more traumatic. Unfortunately, many oil and gas workers find themselves in this situation all too often. The WARN Act, or the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, is designed to protect employees from these types of unexpected layoffs. It is important to understand your rights provided under this important law.
Seven Employee Rights Under the WARN Act
What are your rights as an employee under the WARN Act? The following is an overview:
- You have a right to receive 60 day’s notice of the layoff.
- You have the right to recover pay and benefits owed to you.
- You have the right to receive adequate warning of the layoff in order to give you time to look for a new job.
- You have a right to receive an explanation if you do not receive 60 days notice prior to being laid off.
- If the company files for bankruptcy, you still have a right to make a WARN Act claim. This claim takes priority over other creditors in bankruptcy court. The wage claim judgments will be taken from the corporation’s bankruptcy estate. This applies regardless of whether the bankruptcy took place before or after the layoffs.
- You may have rights against the employer’s parent company or other related entity. If these parties are involved in the employer’s business, they may be held liable under the WARN Act.
- You may have rights under the WARN Act even if you did receive the required notice of the layoff. The notice has to provide very specific information under the terms of the Act. If the notice was late, it must also include an explanation. If the explanation does not qualify as an exception under the Act, you may still have a claim against the employer.
When pursuing a wage claim, it is important to take the proper actions in order to protect your legal rights. We encourage you to check out our free guide, 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim, for more information.