New York’s AG and State Senator fought for the rights of fired hotel workers who will receive $2.7M.
Westchester County, New York, hotel workers who were employed at one time at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel and Conference Center have been awarded a $2.7 million settlement for being “unlawfully fired” right before the onset of the pandemic “without any notice.”‘ New York Attorney General Letitia James and State Senator Shelley Mayer announced the amount offered to the workers earlier this month. According to court documents, in December 2019, Doral Arrowwood’s management told its workers that the hotel would be closing for approximately three weeks and employees would ultimately be let go at in the first week of January 2020. They were unable to plan for next steps, which is a direct violation of the state’s WARN act.
James said the group was terminated “without sufficient legal notice and denied their rights and wages when it suddenly closed.” She joined in on the suit and argued on their behalf that the hotel’s lenders, U.S. Bank National Association and Anderson Hill Road Capital, LLC, “violated the New York Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) act.”
The act, according to the Department of Labor (DOL), “helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs.” It protects workers’ rights to be sufficiently forewarned of their termination so that they’re able to obtain alternate employment and continue to pay their bills in most circumstances. The act specifies that companies with 50 or more employees are required to give workers at least “a 90-day notice of termination if the business is closing.” The law allots for 60 days of lost wages if their employer fails to meet this requirement, which (it was established in court proceedings) the hotel did and, thus, violated the act.
James recovered the lost wages for 250 workers, who have already begun to receive payments, and stated, “Protecting hardworking New Yorkers will always be a top priority for my office. More than 250 workers at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel were left to fend for themselves when the hotel shut down without sufficient notice, leaving them jobless right before the start of the pandemic. Today, we deliver big for these impacted workers – finally providing the wages they were unfairly denied and holding these greedy companies accountable for violating their rights.”
The workers will ultimately split the $2.7 million. Each will receive $6,000 to $15,000, depending on their salary while they were employed at the conference center.
“This is wonderful news for the Doral Arrowwood workers who have finally gotten the money they deserve and are entitled to after being terminated without warning on Christmas Eve nearly two years ago,” said State Senator Shelley B. Mayer. “Upon hearing that they were let go, I immediately reached out to ensure their rights would be protected under the WARN Act. We continued to advocate for the workers with the New York State Department of Labor and the Attorney General’s Office. For the past year and a half, we remained in contact with the workers to ensure they were informed, and their voices were heard throughout the case, including attending court appearances with them. Thank you to Jane Lauer Barker Esq., Attorney General Letitia James, and Commissioner Roberta Reardon, New York State Department of Labor, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the employees.”