Retail

The retail sector has experienced recent dramatic downturns. Stores are disappearing due to the changing habits of consumers and competition from online retailers. This has resulted in many high-profile shutdowns and bankruptcies of sellers of sportswear, bridal gowns, consumer electronics, food, accessories, and other goods. If the trend continues, more shutdowns and bankruptcies are expected to further constrict the retail space.

This disruption to the industry has been especially hard for retail employees let go in mass layoffs and closings without adequate prior notice. The WARN Act requires certain employers to provide 60 days written notice before carrying out a mass layoff or shutdown. In some instances, employees on furlough may also be entitled to WARN notice.

The prime concern in bricks-and-mortar retail shutdowns and layoffs is whether the stores had 50 or more full time employees. Generally, stores with fewer than 50 employees are not covered because they do not meet the WARN Act's minimum employees-per-site threshold. Then the number of employees who work at larger locations, such as headquarters or distribution centers, exceed 50, those sites may be covered by the WARN Act. Remote employees such as district managers or others who float or travel between locations may be protected by WARN because they are associated with those larger locations. States such as New York begin WARN Act coverage at worksite with only 25 or more employees which cover the retail stores such as supermarkets, discount chains, big box stores, and some restaurants.

An employer that violates the law may be liable to pay you and each laid-off co-worker up to two months of pay and benefits, depending on the state where you live. During the difficult period after a layoff, Outten & Golden LLP can help vindicate your rights.

In cases where the employer files for bankruptcy and lays off employees, the timing of events can have a significant impact on what employees may be able to recover. A bankrupt company usually lacks the means to pay all its creditors in full. In such cases, you may want to consult with the experienced attorneys at Outten & Golden to discuss the best way to pursue legal remedies. In some cases, Outten & Golden will bring a lawsuit against a non-bankrupt parent company to obtain recover for laid-off employees.

Outten & Golden Fights for the Rights of Retail Employees

The attorneys at Outten & Golden advocate aggressively for their clients. This includes former employees of a leading consumer marketing company, a major printer, and a corporate training services facility.

Outten & Golden has brought WARN Act suits against retailers such as Fortunoff's (department stores) Bill Heard (car dealerships), Black Angus (restaurants), Charlie Brown's (restaurants) Steve & Barry's (discount clothing stores), Anna's Linens (home accessories chain), and Sungevity (solar panel sales and installation). In each of these cases, we fought for the companies to be held responsible for not providing notice as required by the WARN Act, and sought back pay for the employees who suffered employment losses. Our WARN Practice Group brings lawsuits against employers who either refuse to comply with the WARN Act or use creative ways to avoid providing 60 days' advanced notice to their employees. While not every case will have the same outcome, the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Outten & Golden will be pleased to discuss your situation.

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If you experience job loss in a mass layoff, furlough or shutdown, or you suffer the reduction of more than 50 percent of your work hours during a six-month period, you may have a WARN Act claim and should contact Outten & Golden LLP.