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EMPLOYMENT LAW GUIDE: - page 26 / 134





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as questioning about purely private matters, or conducting physical searches, drug testing, or

surveillance and monitoring of employees. Employers can guard against such claims by

carefully considering their conduct and by publishing policies that reasonably serve to

diminish expectations of privacy in certain areas, e.g., an electronic communications and an

internet use policy. Employers should be aware that there are other sources of privacy rights

under state and federal law.


The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

Under federal and state laws, advance notice and reporting requirements may apply

before an employer can close a plant or conduct a significant layoff. Under the federal

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, known as the WARN Act, 29 U.S.C. §

210l, et seq., employers that plan to close a facility of 100 or more employees or lay off at

least one-third of employees at a facility which number at least 50 or more employees must

provide a minimum of 60 days advance, written notice of the layoff to affected employees.

An analogous state law, Mass. Gen. L. c. 151A, §§ 71A - 71G, may also impose certain

obligations. Notice and reporting requirements are strict. An employer also may have

obligations concerning employee benefits that are triggered by a plant closing. Employers

facing a plant closing or significant layoff are encouraged to consult experienced

employment counsel.


Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act

A federal statute, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, known as

COBRA, 29 U.S.C. § 1161, et seq., gives employees and other insurance beneficiaries the

option to continue group health insurance benefits following termination. COBRA applies to

both medical and dental insurance coverage. This means that generally former employees,


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