Former employees of Bic Graphic recently filed a federal class action lawsuit against the company and its parent company, Scribe Opco Inc., for allegedly violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
According to the lawsuit, Bic Graphic employees spent a significant amount of 2020 on furlough, and were led to believe employees would eventually be brought back to work. However, in November the company announced it would be closing its Clearwater, Florida plant, resulting in mass layoffs to employees at the facility without any advance warning.
Workers filed the class action lawsuit on Wednesday, December 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act exits to protect workers and their families by requiring most of the country’s employers with at least 100 employees to give at least 60 days advance written notice before closing a plant or engaging in layoffs of more than 50 people at one site.
There are some exceptions that exist. Employers may order closures or mass layoffs in less than that 60 day timeframe if the actions occurred to circumstances that could not reasonably have been foreseen, in which case the employers should still provide as much notice as possible.
Plaintiffs expect the company will use the COVID-19 pandemic to try to claim that exception. However, the complaint argues that the company’s executives likely knew when they first furloughed the workers at the Clearwater plant in late March (or knew shortly after) that mass layoffs would be inevitable, but chose instead to say nothing, and even led employees to believe they’d be brought back.
If you’ve been a victim of wrongful termination due to pandemic or other circumstances, contact an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group for more information about how to proceed with your case.