A former longtime Enterprise car rental agent alleges the company violated federal law when it executed a mass layoff amid the COVID-19 crisis without providing 60 days’ advance notice.
The nine-page complaint out of Florida alleges Enterprise Holdings, Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida and Enterprise Leasing Company of Orlando ran afoul of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) by terminating without cause the plaintiff, a 34-year employee based at Orlando International Airport, and hundreds of others in late April 2020 with no prior notice.
“In violation of the WARN Act, Defendants failed to provide as much written notice as was practicable under the circumstance surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and also failed to provide a statement for the basis for reducing the notification period tozerodays advance notice,” the suit reads. “Defendants could have but failed to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 upon its employees days prior to the mass layoff.”
According to the case, written notice of the mass layoff was provided to proposed class members on April 27, though the letter was dated April 24. The plaintiff’s letter said her employment was to end on April 30, though the complaint says she was actually terminated several days prior.
Prior to the April layoffs, the defendants furloughed the plaintiff and others in mid-March due to the pandemic, which the lawsuit says indicates Enterprise “knew its business was suffering and, thus, knew a mass layoff was coming.” Furloughing employees for a few weeks and then ending their employment with no advance written notice is no substitute for the WARN Act’s requirements, the complaint contends.
Worsening matters is that the defendants, like many other businesses, had access to millions in forgivable loans made available through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the lawsuit goes on. Nonetheless, the companies opted instead to execute a mass layoff, which the plaintiff asserts has had a devastating economic impact on proposed class members.
The case notes the defendants were subject to WARN Act regulations given they employed 100 or more full-time workers who, in aggregate, worked at least 4,000 hours per week, not including overtime. In addition to 60 days’ wages and benefits, terminated Enterprise workers are owed commissions, bonuses, and accrued vacation and personal day pay, the lawsuit says.
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