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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12604
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work at a retail store and have been with the same company

Customer Question

I work at a retail store and have been with the same company for almost 15 years. A junior colleague had mentioned that my store is closing which was news to myself and my manager. After looking into it, we found out that this was in fact occurring. We still haven't received any information regarding the details. I hated the manner that I found out this information especially- when mentioning this to our human resource department- they didn't know this information either. I feel that this information should have been disclosed from my direct manager or Human Resource department. Any advice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

I can certainly understand your frustration with this situation. However, from a legal standpoint, your employer does not have any obligation to inform you that your store is closing in advance of that happening. They could tell you the day before if they so chose and they still would not be violating any law. It is an extremely poor business practice, and borderline unethical, but employers will often keep employees in the dark like this out of fear that if all the employees know they will soon be out of a job, they may leave for other work before the store actually closes, leading to even greater losses for the company.

As far as how to handle this situation, the first thing you should know is that if you quit in advance of your last day, that will very likely disqualify you from collecting unemployment benefits, which you would otherwise be entitled to. So, it is absolutely imperative that you do not leave (unless of course you are doing so to take another job) until the last day that your employer has decided to keep you employed.

If your store closure will result in the layoff of 50 or more employees, under the WARN Act (a federal law you can read about here) your employer is legally required to pay 60 days severance, less however many days advance notice they provide of the layoff (i.e. if your employer gives 10 days notice, they would have to pay 50 days wages as severance). If WARN applies, your employer is likely well aware of this and will comply with their severance obligation, but if for whatever reason they don't you can sue and obtain penalties on top of your severance entitlement under WARN. If WARN does not apply, then you can ask for severance but you really have no legal leverage to make demands. Your only leverage would be the threat that you would leave before the store actually closes, which could harm your employer's business and which may give them an incentive to offer you something so that you will stay for as long as they need you to wind down the store. You just need to be mindful not to play this card too aggressively, as that can back fire.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.