Magazine article Personnel Journal

Unions May Assert Employee Rights under WARN

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Unions May Assert Employee Rights under WARN

Article excerpt

A unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court holds that a union may sue for damages on behalf of its members when an employer fails to give the 60 days' notice of a plant closing or mass layoff required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

The case stems from an untimely notice mailed by Brown Group Inc. on January 17, 1992 to the United Food and Commercial Workers national union (UFCW) concerning a plant closing. The notice said closure would take place on March 20, 1992 and that 277 employees would be laid off.

The UFCW claimed that the terminations began immediately after the letter was sent to the national union. It filed suit seeking damages under the WARN Act, claiming that the discharges couldn't begin before 60 days had elapsed as required by WARN.

The Court, relying on the explicit language of WARN, found that Congress has "without doubt" permitted a union to file suit under WARN on behalf of its members. …

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