In January of 2011, Nebraska state senator Russ Karpisek introduced the Nebraska Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (LB 472). The bill seeks to provide more worksite and worker coverage, more efficient administrative response and enforcement, and more meaningful advance notice to employees. After introduction, the bill was referred to the Business and Labor Committee where it remains pending.
The bill would require employers to provide 60 days advance written notice of a mass layoff, worksite closing, or a transfer of operations which would result in the loss of 25 jobs or more. Notice must be given to each affected employee, each representative of the affected employees, the Commissioner of Labor, the local workforce investment boards and the mayor of the city or village within which the event will occur or, if not within a city or village, the county board. The notice period is increased to 120 days for an event which would result in job losses for 250 employees or more. The bill further allows for the aggregation of individual employment losses if the losses occur at a single site for two or more groups of employees and if any of the individual employment losses involve fewer affected employees than are necessary to require notice under the act.
Enforcement provisions would attach liability to violating employers for each affected employee. The penalties include double back pay for each calendar day of the violation, the value of benefits from the employer’s employee benefit plan through the entire 60 day notice period, as well as liability for other economic and exemplary damages shown by the employee through a preponderance of evidence to have been caused by the employer’s violation of the Act.