Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Susie Bilbro offered insight on an employee benefits issue to consider during the employee layoff process. Communicating a layoff presents challenges from an emotional and compliance standpoint, but because the notice required by the Worker Adjustment Restraining Notification (WARN) Act requires specific legal language, other forms and channels of communication should be used to address the human emotional element of the process. Still, WARN notices can still be written in such a way that softens and eases the tension.

Adequately explaining what terminated employees need to know about benefits is one way to mitigate anxiety from uncertainty. COBRA, for example, offers the relief of allowing the employee to hold onto their health coverage even after being laid off. To provide details on this program within the WARN notice, Susie recommends using the COBRA Model Election Notice, which is available for download on the Department of Labor website here.

The full article, “Fairer Layoffs: Should Employers Notify in Writing or Not?” was published by SHRM on November 12, 2019, and is available online.