Terminating Employees

No manager enjoys firing an employee, especially during tough economic times or when workers are in high demand. However, terminations are a fact of life for business owners. Just as hiring and managing employees involves several legal steps, so does firing or laying off employees.

The resources in this section will help you comply with laws and regulations when you terminate an employee, downsize your company or layoff workers.

Downsizing and Layoffs

When your business has to unfortunately downsize or lay employees off, there are resources and assistance the federal government offers to businesses and employees.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) protects workers, their families and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees (generally not counting those who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and those who work an average of less than 20 hours a week) to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.

The WARN Act is a federal statute. Many states have also enacted similar legislation and some of those states require that the provisions of the Act apply to businesses with less than 100 employees.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guides providing both workers and employers with an overview of their rights and responsibilities under the provisions of the WARN Act.

Covers how the WARN Act protects workers, their families and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees (generally not counting those who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and those who work an average of less than 20 hours a week) to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.

Provides two guides, issued by the DOL, that detail how the WARN Act helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. The guides provide both workers and employers with an overview of their rights and responsibilities under the provisions of the WARN Act.

Details how the WARN Advisor helps employers and workers understand the requirements of WARN, requires employers in certain circumstances to provide advance notification of layoffs and plant closings in order to provide workers with sufficient time to seek other employment or retraining opportunities.

To further help employer's and employees deal with the issues of plant closings and layoffs, the DOL's Rapid Response Services for Employers provides a pro-active, business-focused and flexible strategy designed to help growing companies get access to the following:

  • An available pool of skilled workers from other companies that are downsizing.

  • Workers who have been trained in the skills your company needs to be competitive.

  • Coordination of services for immediate aid to companies and their affected workers.