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October 01, 2012

Obama Administration's WARN Act Chicanery Update

Which of the three exceptions to the Labor Department's WARN Act requirement that federal agencies warn employees of possible layoffs applies to sequestration? If you guessed, "none of them", a stuffed marmoset may be coming to a mailbox near you:

That guidance provides only three exceptions to a WARN Act notification. The exceptions are: 1) a faltering company that is actively seeking capital or business and believes notification would prevent it from obtaining such capital, 2) a natural disaster and 3) unforeseeable business circumstances. Unforeseeable business circumstances are defined as “a business circumstance that is caused by some sudden, dramatic, and unexpected action or conditions outside the employer’s control, like the unexpected cancellation of a major order.” None of these three exceptions seem to apply to sequestration. Therefore, at least according to the Department of Labor’s guidance for employers, WARN notifications would be appropriate in light of sequestration.

Of course, if that doesn't work, a misleading headline or two can be extremely useful. Can you reconcile the headline of this article with the first sentence?

Headline: White House Moves To Head Off Sequester Layoffs

First sentence: The White House moved to prevent defense and other government contractors from issuing mass layoff notices in anticipation of sequestration, even going so far to say that the contracting agencies would cover any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could follow.

Preventing actual sequester layoffs and preventing advance warning of same would seem to be two different things, no es verdad?

Posted by Cassandra at October 1, 2012 05:26 AM

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The original story on this, back in July, was titled was titled "White House scrambles to prevent defense cut pinkslips before election."

That sounds like they were going to do something to prevent people from getting fired. Turns out all they were trying to prevent was the actual pinkslip.

Posted by: Grim at October 1, 2012 09:04 AM

Preventing actual sequester layoffs and preventing advance warning of same would seem to be two different things, no es verdad?

Not a bit. It's illegal to lay off without the 60 day notice. Preventing the notice prevents the layoffs through this path: after Obama wins reelection, he'll transfer public taxpayer money to the private unions to prevent the layoffs from occurring later.

Still don't get it? Well, then, just shut up.


Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 1, 2012 09:58 AM

The WARN Act essentially forces a company to keep making payroll after the layoff for 60 days, so as to create a sort of retroactive 60-day notice period. Or to put it another way, it awards workers a 60-day severance package after the layoff. So the factory still closes, but workers aren't caught quite as short.

This difference between doing it this way and just following the law in the first place is another two months' pay in the pockets of workers at a doomed facility, for which the taxpayers will pick up the tab. A small price for allowing the administration to put off for 60 days the annoying obligation to acknowledge reality.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 1, 2012 10:24 AM