[Histonet] Off Topic - question about class action suit against your "employer"

Victoria Baker vbaker60 <@t> yahoo.com
Sat Sep 11 08:53:05 CDT 2004

Good morning,

This is a question that I hope very few of us on the
list-server have ever had to, are currently, or will
ever have to deal with/answer personally.  

A week ago yesterday the not-for-profit/NCI (Cancer
Center Support Grant)funded organization I work for
gave us WARN notification that told us we would be
permanently "layed-off" as of Sept. 10 unless an
agreement between our facility and the government was
made. As negotiations were being worked for a merger
with "other" institutions there might still be a way
to work out our difficulties and keep our institution
open.  The specifics of this merger are unknown and we
have had no specific information given to us.  As of
yesterday afternoon we were informed that we would
have to call in on Monday morning to see if we would
be allowed access to the building and work.  

The controversy is this:
1.  According to law we are to be notified at least 60
days in advance of a permanent closing.  This has not
been done.
2.  We lose any severance or unused vacation pay still
owed to us under a "normal" - I use this term loosely
- closing.
3.  Insurance benefits - being able to apply for COBRA
or get clear information as to what we could do to
purchase insurance on our own has been non existent
and our HR person left her position as of Friday as
well.  This is not part of the actual legal
proceedings just concerns of all employees.  
4.  Retirement plans/annuities are a separate issue as
not all employees were involved in these benefits.

We are a very small institute of less than 150 people
in NYS.  

I'm looking to see if anyone else on the server has
had this occur to them and whether or not they did
pursue a legal action to get the benefits due to them.
 I'd also like to know if anyone has information or
people/places I could contact about what most have
gotten in terms of litigation. The issues I listed are
the most pertinent, as with many of these closings
other issues revolve around the main ones.  

Many of these people have been here since the late
70's or early 80's.  Yesterday as most of us were
cleaning out offices and trying to organize our labs,
I encountered so many different human reactions and
emotions.  When I left my lab last night it was just
around sundown and shadows were cast over some of my
equipment and benches after I had shut down the lights
(I have a wall of windows that I've always loved to
watch the seasons or the weather)and it was a very sad
moment. Would I ever see it again?  When you are layed
off or a company closes it's a 'done deal' and you can
move on.  When you just seem to get a 'stay of
termination' that leaves you no where closer to
resolution it wears you down.    

If anyone has anything that they could pass on I would
very much appreciate it.  

Thank you very much.

Vikki Baker
Institute for Cancer Prevention
Valhalla, NY  10595

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