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Maine Federal Court permits wage claims to go forward against Wood Structures and Roark Capital

On September 16, 2010, Judge Singal of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine ruled that a group of former Wood Structures employees may continue to pursue their WARN Act claims against Wood Structures, Roark Capital Group, and some of its affiliated companies. The WARN Act requires certain employers to provide their employees with 60 days notice before a mass layoff or plant shutdown. An employer who violates the WARN Act by ordering a mass layoff or plant shutdown without providing proper notice is liable to each affected employee for an amount including back pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days.

Wood Structures shutdown its operations in Biddeford and Saco in March of 2009 and, as a result, 170 employees lost their jobs. According to the plaintiffs, Wood Structures and Roark Capital, acting as an integrated enterprise, conducted this mass layoff without providing employees with the requisite 60 days notice.