A Mississippi-based furniture company fired nearly 2,700 employees just before midnight on November 21. Watchman mentioned. The company notified employees of their termination in text messages and emails and told them not to report to work the next day. United Furniture Industries is best known for making comfortable budget sofas and chairs for Simmons Upholstery, which put two out of work just two days before Thanksgiving.
According to the New York PostThe letter the company sent to employees said: “Based on the instructions of the Board of Directors…we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances, the Company has been forced to make the difficult decision to terminate employment for all of its employees, effective immediately, on November 21.”
“Your layoff from the Company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without the provision of COBRA,” the employee received a follow-up email from the company.
The company also instructed its drivers to “return equipment, inventory and delivery documents” immediately, regardless of “whether or not [they] Completed [their] Connecting”.
Unfortunately, the employees were not given any explanation as to why they were laid off so abruptly. The two-decade-old company has suddenly dissolved its operations. The New York Post reports that over the summer, the company fired its CEO, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales.
A UFI spokesperson said Freightwaves.com that the workers were later told they could come to their workplaces to “collect their belongings”.
A laid-off employee expressed his disappointment and told the portal, “It is not fair to workers who have worked so hard to be traumatized in this way. It is not fair to a mother who has just had a baby to wonder if she even has health insurance to cover that. It is not fair to a cancer patient in the midst of it.” Chemo on how to pay for her treatments.”
A former employee also filed a lawsuit against the company. Turia Neal, a resident of Lee County, Mississippi, who has worked for UFI for more than eight years, alleges in her proposed class complaint that the company violated the Worker Retraining Amendment and Notification (WARN) Act and failed to provide at least 60 days of written notice of the pending shutdown.
Langston & Lott, of Booneville, Mississippi, filed a first-class suit against United Furniture Industries, Inc. , claiming it violated the WARN Act when terminating all of its 2,700 employees.
“Under the WARN Act, United Furniture employees are entitled to either 60 days’ notice or 60 days of severance pay — neither of which is provided,” Jack Simpson, an attorney for Langston and Lott, told FreightWaves. “If a group counsel is appointed, we look forward to vigorously investigating United Furniture’s actions and seeking the largest compensation the terminated employees are legally entitled to.”
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