A reduction in force action, often called a RIF action, occurs when an employee is terminated because an employer has reduced the overall number of employees, the employee’s position has been eliminated, or the Company is shutting down their operations completely. Ohio does not have a specific law on RIF actions, but employees have rights through the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act or if the employee belongs to a union, through the union’s collective bargaining agreement. A reduction in force attorney in Columbus can help ensure those rights are upheld.
In the event that an employer must terminate more than 50 employees in any 30-day period due to a plant closing, the WARN Act requires the employer to provide a 60-day notice of the RIF action in writing to all employees affected. If the termination does not involve a plant closing, but 500 or more employees will lose their job in one 30-day period, the employer must provide 30 days notice in writing.
Not all employers are covered by the WARN Act. Only employers that employ a minimum of 100 full-time employees, or a minimum of 100 employees who work a minimum of 4,000 hours or more collectively each week. For the purposes of the law, a full-time employee is anyone that works at least 20 hours each week and has been employed with the company for a minimum of six of the 12 months prior to the RIF action.
Unlike some workplace violations, employees who have had their rights violated cannot file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Labor. Instead, wronged employees must file a lawsuit in federal court.
Although many employers are bound by the law set forth in the WARN Act, there are exceptions. For example, employers are not required to provide notice of a RIF action when the separation is caused by a strike or lockout. Additionally, when an employee was hired on a short-term basis for a temporary project, employers are also not required to provide any type of notice.
Certain situations also allow employers to provide less notice than the mandated 60 days. These scenarios include terminations due to a natural disaster, unforeseeable circumstances in the business, or when a company is experiencing financial challenges.
The WARN Act provides many employees with certain rights and notice, but with many exceptions and other caveats, it is a complicated piece of legislation. At Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC, our reduction in force attorneys in Columbus are here to help. After evaluating the facts in your situation, we will advise whether we believe you have valid grounds for legal action. If you feel as though your employer violated your rights, call us today or contact us online to learn more.
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