WARNing: Yard and Annex are the same worksite

By Bill Wright

When planning a reduction in force, employers always have to consider the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“the WARN Act”). To determine whether you have to give WARN notice of a mass layoff, you have to determine whether the workers affected are at one or more sites of employment. Recently, a court identified a “truly unusual organizational situation” and determined that two separate facilities were part of a “single site of employment.” Davis at al. v. Signal Int’l Texas GP, LLC et al., No. 12-41262 (August 28, 2013). Contrary to the court’s characterization, the situation was not at all unusual. The employer had a manufacturing facility, called “the Yard,” and, a mile away, it had an administration building, called “the Annex.” Administrative employees went back and forth between the Yard and the Annex, some had offices at the Yard and others at the Annex.

Be WARNed, if you share employees back and forth between two buildings, separated by a mile, layoffs from either facility will affect the same community, and if those collective numbers meet the WARN threshold you should give the required notice.