Enterprise Sued for Violations of the WARN Act Over COVID Layoffs

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


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On May 27, 2020, car rental company Enterprise Leasing Company was served with class claims in federal court in the Middle District of Florida, alleging that the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”), when it terminated hundreds of employees without cause and without sufficient - or any - advanced written notice.

Named plaintiff in the suit Elva Benson had previously worked for Enterprise at the company’s Orlando International Airport location. In mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to worsen in the United States, Enterprise furloughed plaintiff and hundreds of other employees. At that time, plaintiff argued, Enterprise was well aware that its business was suffering and that the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding stay home orders, would severely inhibit its business. Several weeks after furloughing employees, Enterprise abruptly terminated hundreds of employees in a mass layoff, with no written warning to employees.

According to the WARN Act, an employer must provide 60 days written notice of the intention to lay off more than 50 employees during any 30-day period. In the complaint, the plaintiff emphasized the severity of the defendant’s violation of the WARN Act, by pointing out that Enterprise chose to not take advantage of the government sponsored Paycheck Protection Program and instead chose to implement mass layoffs.

The plaintiff is seeking to represent a class made up of similarly affected former Enterprise employees who were terminated without cause and without notice. The suit is seeking to recover for each class member, an amount equal to the sum of his/her wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses and accrued pay for vacation and personal days for work days in the 60 calendar days prior to their respective terminations, in addition to fringe benefits and medical expenses incurred for 60 calendar days prior to termination.

The case is: Elva Benson et al. v. Enterprise Holdings Inc. et al., Case No.: 6:20-cv-00891, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

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