A recent lawsuit against Four Seasons Miami alleges the hotel failed to keep workers updated about their employment status after widespread COVID-related furloughs in early 2020.
The claim was brought by six employees of Four Seasons Miami, who seek a class action for more than 50 staff members who continue to be affected.
In March 2020, the hotel furloughed 312 of its employees, giving the required notice in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. However, after that employees allegedly did not receive any updates from the hotel about when they will return to work, or any other relevant direction.
Under the WARN Act, any furlough that lasts longer than six months is equivalent to job loss, which means Four Seasons would have been required to send a second notice to employees letting them know their furlough had turned into a layoff.
Instead, the hotel did not send any such notice, meaning the staff was essentially in an unending furlough. The hotel allegedly did this as a means of getting out of its policy for paying severance pay to employees who were terminated without cause. It was considered very unlikely the hotel ever planned on recalling staff, because it eliminated many of their positions in the aftermath of the pandemic.
According to the plaintiffs, many of the staff members affected would be eligible to receive some significant severance pay, as some had worked at the hotel for decades before the pandemic struck.
This was an issue that hit hospitality companies all over the world last year, especially in destination cities like Miami. Many of the city’s largest and most popular beach clubs, resorts and hotels furloughed and/or laid off hundreds to thousands of employees.
For more information about how you can protect your rights as a worker under federal law, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.