Wyatt Employment Law Report


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To Aggregate or Not to Aggregate, Under the WARN Act, That Is the Question

By Michael D. Hornback

GavelOn January 5, 2016, the Sixth Circuit answered that question with a “No” under the facts and circumstances presented in Morton v. The Vanderbilt University, 2016 WL 52439 (6th Cir. 2016).

The Sixth Circuit began its opinion by noting the unusual circumstances presented.  The plaintiffs in the case consisted of 194 employees (the “Plaintiffs”) who were terminated by Vanderbilt and who were claiming violations of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”), 29 U.S.C. §2101 et seq.  However, whether these 194 terminated employees actually had a claim under the WARN Act was wholly dependent upon how Vanderbilt treated 279 other employees (the “Second Group”) who were not plaintiffs in the lawsuit and who had not protested Vanderbilt’s treatment of them.

Under the WARN Act, an employer of 100 or more employees is generally required to provide at least 60 days’ written notice to affected employees before a mass layoff may occur.  A “mass layoff” is defined as “an employment loss at the single site of employment during any 30-day period for . . . at least 500 employees.”  However, the WARN Act permits Continue reading