Thank you again for your reply.
Employer are required to pay severance if there is a contractual agreement so providing or if they have a statutory obligation to do so. Assuming that you never signed an agreement to receive severance in exchange for your rights to sue, the only basis to compel your employer to pay severance would be statutory, and the only relevant statute that would compel severance under the circumstances is the WARN Act (what I believe you are referring to when you say the "Warren Act").
Under the federal WARN Act, an employer with at least 100 employees that lays off at least 50 during a 30-day period must either give 60 days notice of the lay off or pay 60 days wages. However, the WARN act applies only in circumstances where the affected employees suffer an "employment loss
," and the WARN act provides a very specific definition as to what this means.
Specifically, the WARN Act defines "employment loss" as ... "(A) an employment termination, other than a discharge for cause, voluntary departure, or retirement, (B) a layoff exceeding 6 months
, or (C) a reduction in hours of work of more than 50 percent during each month of any 6-month period." 29 U.S.C. § 2101(a)(6).
Assuming that you are re-employed within six months of your separation of employment date, you will not have suffered an "employment loss" within the meaning of the WARN Act, and thus will have no statutory basis to demand severance.
The fact that your layoff was originally expected to be permanent unfortunately would not change things. A federal court recently examined that exact question and determined that, despite an employee originally believing their layoff was permanent (and thus expecting severance under the WARN act), the fact they were rehired within six months meant they did not sustain an "employment loss," and no loss meant the employer did not have to pay any severance under the Act. The case is Rifkin v. McDonnel Douglas Corp and you can reference it here: http://www.leagle.com/decision/1996135578F3d1277_11178
Thus, an employee in your circumstance is not entitled to severance unless you have a contract so mandating or unless your re-hire does not occur within 6 months of your separation of employment.
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