A former employee of Northern Beef Packers has files a class-action suit against the company, claiming that he and other employees who were laid off were not given proper notice. The company filed for bankruptcy in July and laid off approximately 260 employees at its Aberdeen, S.D. plant .
Jorge Alvarado, who was laid off in July, filed the lawsuit against the beef plant individually and as a representative "for all similarly situated individuals" who were laid off within 90 days of July 19, reports the Aberdeen News.
According to court paperwork, Alvarado claims the workers weren't given proper notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the act requires "employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs." Generally speaking, according to the Department of Labor, "employers are covered by (the act) if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week."
There are, however, exceptions, including for situations where the employer is struggling to obtain financing. The act defines "employment loss" as:
- An employment termination, other than a discharge for cause, voluntary departure or retirement
- A layoff exceeding six months
- A reduction in an employee's hours of work of more than 50 percent in each month of any six-month period
The lawsuit would have to be certified by a judge as a class action case before moving forward. Alvarado is seeking unpaid wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued vacation and holiday pay, pension and 401 (k) contributions and health insurance benefits for 60 days in accordance with the act for all laid off workers, according to court paperwork.
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