Employees Sue Contractor Over Sequestration Layoffs

L-3 Communications

Former employees of a major government contractor are filing a class action lawsuit claiming the company did not follow the directives of the 1988 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act when issuing layoff notices, Politico reported.

The three employees behind the lawsuit against L-3 Communications argue that they were laid off without the 60 day notice mandated by the WARN Act, according to Politico. They are seeking compensation for the days they would have worked if they had been given the proper notice period.

The Labor Department last year instructed contractors not to send WARN Act notices for sequestration-related layoffs. The Office of Management and Budget in September said agencies would cover contractors’ “liability and litigation costs” related to such notices if they followed Labor’s guidelines.  

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have become interested in the case. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., blamed the Obama administration for remaining opaque about how contractors should implement sequestration-related layoffs.

“Affected industries were bound by law to notify their workers ahead of sequestration layoffs,” McKeon told Politico. “Instead, in the most cynical of moves, the White House offered taxpayer money to companies to stop them from issuing layoff notices, warnings due days before the election.”

It’s not the first time L-3 Communications has had to undertake layoffs and restructuring because of falling demand in the government market. In April, the company laid off 190 employees in its Salt Lake City office, citing a “declining budget environment and uncertainties due to sequestration.” The company told Government Executive in April that WARN Act notices were not necessary for those layoffs.

Many major contractors did not factor sequestration into their 2013 revenue forecasts and have not undertaken major sequestration related layoffs. Lockheed Martin Corp. was an exception, citing the budget cuts in its forcast, and BAE Systems delivered 3,500 WARN Act notices to its employees across the country, citing a downturn in the overall government budget. 

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