Thomas S. Giotto, a shareholder in the Labor and Employment Section of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's Pittsburgh office, was quoted in an April 1, 2009, article published by the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal. The article, titled "Employers should plan separations carefully," discussed Pennsylvania and other states' layoff laws.

As explained in the article, "In February, the New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 'NY WARN' for short, became law, [adding New York to] a growing number of states, including California and New Jersey, that have enacted statutes expanding protections to employees who lose their jobs."

Despite such changes in New York, New Jersey and California, Pennsylvania has yet to enact stricter layoff statutes.

According to Giotto, "Unlike New York, Pennsylvania does not have a separate general law related to plant closings and mass layoffs. However, Pennsylvania employers must comply with the federal WARN Act, which applies when a business with 100 or more full-time workers is laying off at least 50 people at a single site of employment."

Giotto continued, noting the federal Workforce Investment Act under which Pennsylvania must initiate Rapid Response Assistance as soon as information is received that a mass dislocation or plant closure is scheduled to take place.

"During Rapid Response, specialists gather information about employee needs and begin to organize services necessary to help them return to work," the article explained.

In addition, Giotto advised that "[E]mployers must be aware of state and federal antidiscrimination laws to ensure that those selected for layoff were not selected on the basis of any protected status, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or any other protected category as defined by federal, state or local laws."