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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20398
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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My company. K&G, a division of the Mens Wearhouse, decided

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My company. K&G, a division of the Men's Wearhouse, decided to close our store, because it didn't meet a sales projection that was set forth in the original lease set in 2008. The sale figure is $5,000,000, which is less than 10% of K&G
When I approached the landlord about this he affirmed and reaffirmed that he had not been notified of the closure, but he had a idea that this might happen because of several letters from our corporate office about other issues that might effect the shopping center.
The issue here, at least from my standpoint, is that we were given notice on June 17th from our corporate folks that we were closing. (the K&G Division) During this disclosure they told the employees at the store that we would be laid off July 30, 2013, and no severance would be paid since they gave us more than 30 days notice. The parent company did not disclose to the Landlord until July 2nd from a letter dated July 1st. That they were closing the store, and Men's wearhouse was upset that we were told that K&G was closing the store before they (the parent company) had made a decision.
My argument here, is, did they pull the trigger so they would get out of having to pay severance to us, because that's what it looks like to us, and might we have a case for backpay

Thank you for the information and your question. Can you tell me if your employer has a written policy that says they must pay severance to employees if they lay them off with less than 30 days notice? About how many employees are affected by this closure and just to be clear, the employer has given the employees more than 30 days notice before they will be out of a job, correct?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I need to clarify a couple of points, that occurred to me when I looked at my original posts.

First, less than 10% of K&G stores do $5,000,000 or more, which really isn't a issue with this question of "are we owed", if you will, just a statement. It was part of the real estate contract, and is a "out" for K&G if they would decide to use it, which is completely within their right.

Secondly, there are 13 employees that could be affected, not just the 6 FTE's that I responded about earlier, if this might make a difference from a legal standpoint.

Thank you for your response, however, I never received your original response to my information request. Not sure where it went or what happened, but can you confirm how many actual days of notice the employees are getting before their last day of work. Also, where did you get the number 30 days as the minimum amount of notice that is due in order to not have to pay severance pay? Is this the company's policy?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am sorry, not sure what happened either. To answer your original response, before the last reply. I have a letter from counsel at K&G that states that since they gave us more than 30 days they do not have to pay us severance, based on their (the company's policy) I presume.

We were notified on June 17 that the last day we were to be employed by K&G, (the Men's Wearhouse) would be July 30th. The Land lord was notified on July 2, by a letter dated July 1st, which was the time we were supposed to be notified, according to the Landlord.

Hello again and thank you for that clarification. The notice given to the landlord and their involvement actually has not bearing on the law in terms of the notice that you would be required to be given. Normally, absent a company policy that guarantees severance when an employee is let go or laid off, there is no requirement that an employer offer any severance at all. In other words, there is no general State or Federal law that requires that employers offer severance in most cases. However, there is an exception. That is when there is a mass layoff or a complete closure of a business that meets the requirements set out under the Federal law called WARN.

That law, WARN, actually requires 60 days notice prior to closure. However, it appears that the law does not apply in your situation, since although your company may have over 100 workers total everywhere, there must be a layoff of at least 50 people at a single site, for the law to apply. So, you cannot use that law to force severance pay.

This comes down to company policy then. All the company has to do is give the employees, in this case based on the 30 day policy, at least 30 days actual notice that you will be out of a job. If they comply with that, then they do not have to pay severance under their policy. As I mentioned the landlord and that issue has no bearing on the issue of severance.

That said, it would certainly be nice and show good faith if the company would provide some severance to soften the blow, but there is no law that mandates it in this case.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You answered my question, and I am completely satisfied with the answer. It's not what I wanted to hear, but I can go back to my co-workers and let them know that this was completely within K&G rights, however much bad faith the company has showed to us.

As a side note, K&G, like the Men's Wearhouse, presents it's customers on our front doors a decal from Fortune Magazine promoting "ourselves" as a top 100 company to work for in America... do you think so?