Jon Klinghoffer is quoted in the article, "Experts Debunk Viral TikTok Videos About How Companies Reveal Layoffs," published in the March 31, 2023, edition of Axios.
The article concerns the WARN Act and how some TikTokers have been promoting it as a "secret weapon" to foresee layoffs. The article also focuses on how layoffs in the tech sector have raised questions about how the WARN Act applies to employees who work remotely.
Passed by Congress in 1988, The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) requires most companies with 100 or more employees to officially disclose certain layoffs 60 days in advance. It was originally designed to help workers find new jobs before losing their current positions. The law surfaced recently when Twitter issued WARN notices about layoffs in November 2022 and some employees sued, saying they were not given enough notice.
While many companies' layoffs qualify for an official WARN Act notice, the criteria are “complex,” according to the Department of Labor, and not every layoff will trigger the WARN Act protections. Thus, even though the WARN Act promotes corporate transparency and provides key information to workers about potentially life-changing job events, experts say the social media videos are breeding misconceptions about the WARN Act as a secret weapon.
For example, in one of the most viral videos, with more than 2.2 million views, a TikToker has a fictional layoff conversation with her manager. Thanks to the WARN Act, she says, she already knows about the layoffs.
Goldberg Kohn's Jon Klinghoffer, who defends employers in WARN Act cases, said that if a company is big enough to qualify for an official notice, its employees would most likely hear about the layoffs in the news. "If it's big enough, you're already likely to hear about it,” he's quoted as saying. He added that if you're at a small company, then the Act wouldn't apply and you'd learn about layoffs internally anyway.
The remainder of the article focuses on the WARN Act and the tech sector, as layoffs in the sector continue to be commonplace. The tech layoffs have raised questions about how the WARN Act applies to employees who work remotely. Mr. Klinghoffer explained that every remote employee has a “WARN home” — which is based on where they report into, where their boss works, or other factors.
“You could have a bunch of remote employees who don't work in the same location, get laid off, and it may be a WARN event,” Mr. Klinghoffer said.