Fisker Faced With Class-Action Suit Over Mass Layoffs
By: Jeff Cobb
Posted: April 8, 2013
The same law firm that successfully sued Solyndra LLC over similar issues has filed a class action suit ****** against Fisker Automotive for failure to provide 60 days notice to those culled by its mass layoffs on Friday.
As reported by Automotive News, representatives from ** Raisner Roupinian LLP were on hand to interview some of the approximately 75 percent of laid-off employees as they exited Fisker’s Anaheim headquarters, and within hours had slapped Fisker for failure to comply with the WARN act.
Known formally as the U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the WARN act is a federal law that says companies with over 100 employees must provide 60 days notice prior to their layoff. There is also a similar requirement in place under California state law.
The federal requirement to give a 60-day notification does offer exceptions for a “faltering company” and for “unforeseeable business circumstances,” which Fisker may have qualified for, but these must be proven by the employer under 1989 federal WARN law guidelines.
The suit names as plaintiff former Fisker employee, Sven Etzelsberger, plus “other similarly situated former employees.”
It accuses Fisker of failure to pay the employees their 60 days pay and benefits that would have been received had they been allowed the 60-day notice.
Under California law, the suit accuses, Fisker also neglected to notify California’s state Employment Development Department of its layoff plans, as well as the local workforce investment board, and also the top elected officials in Anaheim and Orange County.
Damages are being sought by the suit for an unspecified dollar amount and *** Fisker is subject to a civil penalty of as much as $500 per day for each day it is in violation of the law. This is above and beyond the 60-days’ of lost pay the suit is seeking for each affected employee to compensate for lost wages, benefits or salary that would have been received had affected employees been given 60 days notice.
Fisker laid off its public relations department on Friday also, but has retained the communications firm of *** Sitrick and Co. No answer on Friday was given in response to request for comment by Fisker.
Fisker’s remaining 53 employees, primarily senior management and executives, are retained according to Reuters and other reports for the purpose of seeking a buyer for the company’s remaining assets.