By Iman A. Wells, Esq
We previously reported that in response to the WARN Amendments, the ERISA Industry Committee (“ERIC”) filed a lawsuit against Robert Asaro-Angelo, in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, arguing that the Amendments severance provisions are preempted by ERISA. After its initial Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ) was denied without prejudice to allow for limited discovery, ERIC filed a renewed MSJ on March 14, 2023.
On April 6, 2023, Judge Zahid N. Quraishi denied ERIC’s renewed MSJ. In dismissing this challenge to the WARN Amendments, Judge Quraishi held that ERIC lacked associational standing and presented no evidence to demonstrate that its members would be adversely affected by the expanded Act. Judge Quraishi further opined that ERIC’s claims that its’ members would be adversely affected were “merely speculative”.
The new expanded WARN Act went into effect on Monday, April 10, 2023, and sets forth a number of changes to law. Among the most notable changes:
- The Act now applies when employers with 100 or more employees layoff 50 or more workers;
- Employers are required to provide 90 days’ notice instead of the prior 60 days’ notice; and
- Employers must provide affected employees with one week of severance for each full year of employment (additional payments apply if no proper WARN notice is given).
This is yet another reminder that New Jersey employers who are considering reductions in force should carefully review and consider these new obligations and should consult with counsel before moving forward with any such reduction.
The decision is The ERISA Industry Committee v. Robert Asaro-Angelo, No. CV2010094ZNQTJB, 2023 WL 2808105 (D.N.J. Apr. 6, 2023). The full opinion is available here.
Please contact an NFC team member if you have any questions or seek further assistance.