Sauder Schelkopf filed a WARN Act class action lawsuit against Wood-Mode Inc. following its abrupt closure on May 13, 2019. Wood-Mode notified nearly 1,000 employees that the 77-year-old business was closing immediately. A spokesman for Wood-Mont reportedly said in a statement “that after a deal to sell the company to another firm fell through early last week, officials were notified on Friday that its prime lender was ‘unwilling to provide normal funding’ that would have allowed the custom wood cabinet manufacturing business to continue operating, leaving ‘no choice but to make the difficult decision to wind down its operations.'” It was reported that “[si]x state police troopers, three Snyder County sheriff deputies and Middleburg Borough police were stationed at the plant as employees walked to their cars, many carrying boxes of personal items.” As noted by the Department of Labor, “The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees (generally not counting those who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and those who work an average of less than 20 hours a week) to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.” An employer who violates the WARN provisions by ordering a plant closing or mass layoff without providing appropriate notice may be liable to each aggrieved employee for an amount including back pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days. The employer’s liability may be reduced by such items as wages paid by the employer to the employee during the period of the violation and voluntary and unconditional payments made by the employer to the employee. The WARN Act makes certain exceptions to the requirements when layoffs occur due to unforeseeable business circumstances, faltering companies, and natural disasters.
Sauder Schelkopf recently secured a $1.5 million settlement on behalf of 300 former employees of a North Carolina aviation maintenance facility. We also represented former employees of a Texas cabinetry manufacturer in an $800,000 settlement.
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