The WARN Act - Law or Suggestion?

What is the WARN Act? Click here for the government's definition.

The WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act is law. The White House has advised government contractors to ignore the law and that the taxpayers will pick up any resulting legal or operational costs. The law-required layoff notices are in response to "Sequestration" - spending cuts in Defense approved last August by Congress.

As of 10.01.2012 only Lockheed Martin has "folded" and said they would not issue layoff notices per US Law. I am certain that others will follow.

This White House seems to have a singular view as to the importance of laws in this country. The below is illustrative:


by Fisher Katt Bate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government will not enforce laws that the Obama Administration does not like, a top-level law enforcement official said today.

Deputy Attorney General Anita Bath said a comprehensive review of federal laws is under way to determine which laws the Administration wants enforced.

"For now people should just relax, especially undocumented immigrants. Be assured that this President, unlike previous Presidents, will not enforce laws just because Congress passed them. Any law that President Obama or his cabinet considers unconstitutional, poorly conceived, unfortunate or misguided will not be supported.

This President will not be swayed by public opinion, court rulings or Congressional dictates. The American people hired him to change America fundamentally, and in order to do that he must act independently and with great courage."


A question to consider: Does the fact that massive layoff notices just before an election "might" have a negative impact on the president's re-election bear any relation to this invitation to defy US law? Just asking!

Relative to laws of our great country a plagiarization of Yoda suffices: "Comply or change, there is no ignore!"

See the below article:


Article from CNN:

White House to contractors: Hold off on layoff warnings

By Jeanne Sahadi @CNNMoney September 28, 2012: 6:51 PM ET

White House budget office made an effort to stave off layoff notices from companies worried about 2013 automatic spending cuts.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The White House on Friday told government contractors worried about fiscal cliff spending cuts to hold off on warning employees about possible layoffs.

The government said it would cover legal costs if contractors are forced to slash their payrolls because of the looming $109 billion in automatic cuts next year and are alleged to have violated the WARN Act.

The federal WARN Act requires businesses with more than 100 employees to notify workers at least 60 days in advance of a mass layoff or plant closing. Some states require more notice.

"Any resulting employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability as determined by a court, as well as attorneys' fees and other litigation costs (irrespective of litigation outcome) would qualify as allowable costs and be covered by the contracting agency, if otherwise reasonable and allocable," the Office of Management and Budget said in its guidance.

Top CEOs: Fiscal cliff is hurting jobs >P> Defense contractors in particular have warned for months that the upcoming sequester would cost jobs in their industry. And Lockheed Martin's CEO has said publicly he may be forced to issue notice this fall of possible layoffs in 2013.

If other contractors follow suit, there could be a rash of layoff notices spooking employees right before Election Day.

Both parties in Congress created the sequester -- a series of thoughtless, automatic, across-the-board cuts -- as a way to force their hand to agree on a more gradual bipartisan debt-reduction plan.

Well, that hasn't happened yet. And if lawmakers can't agree on how to replace the sequester soon, the cuts become effective on Jan. 2.

And then, there's this:

By Gary Schmitt Published October 01, 2012

Nor is Friday’s announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB - the White House office responsible for devising and submitting the president's annual budget proposal to Congress) the first to attempt to ignore a law when it comes to the consequences of sequestration. Just two weeks ago, OMB refused to abide by the terms of the Sequestration Transparency Act which required the administration to spell out the impact sequestration would have on specific programs. In doing so, the White House made it even more likely that defense companies would feel obligated to send out wide-spread WARN notices since they lacked any information on how exactly January’s cuts would be implemented. Indeed, it may be that the refusal to follow the law in this first instance forced the White House to double down this past week by offering in effect “liability insurance” for companies to disregard the WARN Act altogether.

One is tempted of course to say, “this is just politics.” But, in fact, it’s far more than that. It’s a case of the president abusing his “executive power” to turn duly enacted laws on their heads.