ASI Former Employee Seeks Class Certification in WARN Act Suit

July 18, 2012

by Erica Terrini,

A former ASI Ltd. employee is seeking class certification in a suit in which he alleges that he and about 200 of his fellow co-workers were terminated from the Whitestown, Ind.-based company upon its closing without proper notification in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. Andrew Shepherd originally filed the suit in February 2012, and filed the motion for class certification this month.

Shepherd's motion claims that "WARN Act cases are ideal for class treatment because a violation necessarily causes injury to at least 50 individuals." Likewise, he alleges that that all 232 of his fellow terminated employees were similarly affected and are entitled to class treatment.

According to the motion, Shepherd also is pursuing class certification "in order to avoid a mootness issue that may result from a tender to the named plaintiff."

In his initial suit, Shepherd alleged that ASI "failed to pay the plaintiff and the other similarly situated employees their respective wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay and accrued vacation for sixty (60) days following their respective terminations and failed to make 401(k) contributions and provide them with health insurance coverage and other employee benefits." The complaint claims he is pursuing compensation for those payments the company failed to make in addition to other Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) benefits.

ASI responded to the suit in May, by denying Shepherd's allegations that the company was legally obligated under the WARN Act to provide 60 days advance written notice to its employees of its intention to close the facility. While ASI did not deny the plant's closing in December 2011, it did claim the decision to cease facility operations came on behalf of the company's Pittsburgh-based lender, PNC Bank.

At press time, the court had not yet ruled on Shepherd's request for class certification.

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