Is Your Plant Closing?

WARN – State and Federal Notice Requirements for Plant Closings 

In the event of plant closings or mass layoffs, plant owners and employees should be aware of state and federal laws and notice requirements for plant closings.  

Federal law

Under the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), employers must give sufficient notice to workers and certain government agencies of mass layoffs or plant closings. Sufficient notice can be given to workers or their representative, such as a union.  Failing to do so can result in fines of up to $500.00 per day for up to 60 days.   WARN, found in Chapter 29, Section 2101 of the United States Code, defines a “plant closing” as a “permanent or temporary shutdown” of a “single site of employment.” A permanent or temporary shutdown of a facility or operating unit within a single site of employment also is considered a plant closing if the closing results in an employment loss for 50 or more employees.  Whether a layoff is a “mass layoff” for purposes of WARN ultimately depends on how large the employer’s work force is.   WARN requires employers to give employees’ 60 days notice prior to a plant closing or mass layoff, unless one of the law’s exceptions apply.  These include exceptions for situations such as “unforeseen business circumstances” and natural disasters, as well as the closing of temporary facilities. 

State Laws 

  • North Carolina

    While North Carolina still has no plant closing or mass layoff statute of its own, House Bill 1169 in the N.C. House Committee on Commerce, Small Business, and Entrepreneurship.  If the Bill passes in its current state it would require North Carolina employers to give their workers 90 days notice of a plant closing or mass layoff.

  • South Carolina

    South Carolina’s plant closing law applies to employers who require their employees to give them notice before they quit.  In South Carolina, pursuant to S.C. Code §41-1-40, employers must either post notice of shutdowns at least two weeks before the shutdown or give them the same notice they require from their employees who are quitting.  Failure to notify workers of a shutdown can subject South Carolina employers to a fine of up to $5,000.00.  South Carolina’s statute, like the federal law, does provide exceptions for some “unforeseen” circumstances.

    Caroline Lindsey
    Associate Attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC
    (919) 277-2541