There’s a federal statute (the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN) that requires employers to give workers two month’s notice before a mass layoff or plant closing, and two month’s pay and benefits following termination.
For the 180 or so staff members at Tweeter headquarters who received their pink slips last week, that apparently didn’t happen, and two of them decided to do something about it.
The employees contacted the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, a Detroit-based workers’ advocacy group, which in turn contacted its legal council, attorney Stuart Miller, a partner with the New York firm of Lankenau & Miller.
Miller, who has about 100 WARN Act cases under his belt, filed an amended class action complaint today against Tweeter and parent company Schultze Asset Management in the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware in an attempt to get the employees their due.
It won’t be easy, though.
While employees have priority over unsecured creditors, the plaintiffs will have to wait until Tweeter’s secured creditors get paid - assuming there’s anything left, Miller told TWICE.
Nevertheless, he is encouraging all HQ personnel to participate in the complaint by contacting him at (212) 581-5003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Store-level staffers can’t participate in the class action, Miller explained, as the showrooms employed less than the minimum headcount per facility required for coverage by WARN.)
Based on the frustration expressed by Tweeter employees in TWICE’s reader Talkback threads, the class action represents the final indignity in a long line of company missteps.
And based on a separate Talkback regarding layoffs at Circuit City headquarters last week, and the lousy outlook for retail in general, Miller has his work cut out for him.
Clickhereto read TWICE’s complete coverage of Circuit City and Tweeter.