The federal WARN Act requires businesses with more than 100
employees to notify workers at least 60 days in advance of a mass layoff
or plant closing. Some states require more notice. Many defense contractors were about to send out layoff notices, based on the sequestration (the major defense cuts required by last years budget compromise) which take effect on January 2
But on Friday the White House told government contractors worried about spending cuts due to sequestration to hold off on warning employees about possible layoffs. PLUS they said it would cover legal costs if contractors are forced to slash their payrolls because of the budget cuts.
“Any resulting employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability as determined by a court, as well as attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs (irrespective of litigation outcome) would qualify as allowable costs and be covered by the contracting agency, if otherwise reasonable and allocable,” the Office of Management and Budget said in its guidance.
Wait a second! They asked them to ignore the laws and WE will pay their legal fees. Shouldn’t the Obama campaign pay the legal fees? After all the reason for the OMD guidance is to prevent layoff notices before the election.
The guidance prompted Lockheed Martin — which had previously threatened to send out notices of potential layoffs to all of its 123,000 employees — to say Monday it would not send notices this year under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) called the administration’s guidance “politically motivated memos with dubious grounding in the law.”
“It appears companies will bow to the threat implicit in last week’s OMB guidance; withhold notices today or the government might not cover your court costs down the road. Let me be clear, neither the OMB guidance nor the Lockheed decision will protect a single defense industry job if sequestration occurs in January,” McKeon said in a statement.
Imagine that! The administration asking companies to break the law to help Obama’s campaign. Who would have thought that?