|We've got NEWS|
|Wednesday, February 2, 2000 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
Former workers paid after employer closes doors without notice
On January 27, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) mailed out checks totaling more than $380,000 to 82 employees of a former business that closed its doors without any warning to employees in violation of Wisconsin law.
"This is great news, not only for the former employees of Badger Northland, but for employees all over Wisconsin," said DWD Secretary Linda Stewart. "The law is very clear. If you run a business in Wisconsin and plan to close down, you must give 60 days notice."
Badger Northland, Inc., once a manufacturer of farm equipment located in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, ceased operations at the end of business on November 21, 1996 and shortly thereafter filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The affected employees received no advance notice of the closing. Section 109.07 of Wisconsin Statutes requires employers to provide affected employees 60 days advance written notice of business closings. The department received a complaint concerning the violation.
After investigating the charges, DWD determined Badger Northland had failed to provide proper advance notification to workers affected by the closing and owed those workers wages as a result of the violation.
The Eastern District Bankruptcy Court in Milwaukee upheld the department's determination and assigned the department $380,674.33 to be paid to the former employees.
The amount of money that the business in violation of this statute must pay former employees is based on the 60-day notice rule. Because the business did not give 60 days notice, that business must pay the affected employees for the time it would have paid them had they given a 60-day notice. Employees must be paid their normal wage for the hours they normally worked, up to 40 hours per week. The number of days employees are actually paid is usually about 42 because of weekends and holidays.
The law applies to any business with 50 or more employees in the State of Wisconsin. Companies that order mass layoffs are also required to comply with the 60-day rule. According to the law, a mass layoff occurs when 25% or more of employees are laid off within a 90-day period.
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