Former Christmas Tree Shops Employees Sue Owners Over Alleged WARN Act Violations

A class action lawsuit was filed against Christmas Tree Shops' owners, alleging they violated New Jersey's WARN Act by laying off hundreds of employees with only one week's notice. The lawsuit claims the owners failed to provide the required 90-day notice period before the mass layoffs.

author-image
Bijay Laxmi
New Update
Former Christmas Tree Shops Employees Sue Owners Over Alleged WARN Act Violations

Former Christmas Tree Shops Employees Sue Owners Over Alleged WARN Act Violations

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the now-bankrupt Christmas Tree Shops, alleging they violated the New Jersey Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) by laying off hundreds of employees with only one week's notice. The WARN Act requires employers to provide a minimum of 90 days' advance notice before mass layoffs.

Why this matters: This lawsuit highlights the importance of protecting workers' rights and ensuring that employers comply with labor laws, particularly during times of economic uncertainty. If successful, the case could set a precedent for enforcing worker protection provisions and holding employers accountable for their actions.

The lawsuit, Vorel v. Salkovitz, was filed on May 8, 2024, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by attorneys Robert K. Malone, Mark B. Conlan, and Christopher P. Anton of Gibbons in Newark on behalf of plaintiff Ainslie H. Vorel and other former Christmas Tree Shops employees. The defendants are Marc Salkovitz, the executive chairman, and Pamela Salkovitz, the CEO of Christmas Tree Shops.

According to the complaint, Christmas Tree Stores filed for bankruptcy on May 5, 2023. On June 26, 2023, Marc Salkovitz allegedly advised senior management to begin terminating employees. However, WARN notices were not provided to employees until June 30, 2023, stating that 388 New Jersey employees would be affected, with the first separations starting on July 7, 2023, over a 14-day period. The lawsuit claims all employees were terminated shortly after receiving the notice.

The New Jersey WARN Act was amended in April 2023 to increase notice obligations, mandatory severance, and a lower threshold to trigger WARN requirements. The lawsuit alleges that the Christmas Tree Shops owners failed to comply with these updated provisions by not providing the required 90-day notice period before the mass layoffs.

This class action lawsuit seeks to hold the owners of Christmas Tree Shops accountable for allegedly violating the rights of hundreds of employees under the New Jersey WARN Act. If successful, the case could set a precedent for enforcing the updated worker protection provisions and ensuring that employers provide adequate notice and severance to employees affected by mass layoffs in the state.