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It seems that every week here in Northern Michigan, we’re reading about layoffs. People are losing their jobs left and right. Many folks think that just because they are at will employees [they don’t have an employment contract] that they have no rights when their employer institutes a massive lay-off.

But you do.

Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, workers have an absolute right to a number of things including 60 days written notice prior to the lay-off. Workers deserve better than a 5pm Friday pink slip and you’re out the door before you even know what hit you.

If your employers has more than 100 full time employees, federal law requires them to provide you with written notice, 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs. This law was put into place to protect workers, their communities and more importantly, their families from the complications caused by a sudden plant closing.

This notice requirement includes not only low-level employees, but managers and supervisors as well – hourly and salaried alike. And, if the employer is running a union plant, notice is required to the employee’s representatives, the state dislocated worker unit and the local chief elected official.

This notice gives workers and their families time to transition and adjust to the closing, and time to locate other employment – including the training needed to successfully compete in todays job market.

Times are tough for Michigan workers right now. Don’t let your employer make them tougher. If you, your friends or family members are unemployed due to plant closures or lay-offs AND that plant or employer had more than 100 full time employees, AND you didn’t get the legally required notice, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine what legal options you may have.

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