|We've got NEWS|
|Thursday, February 24, 2000 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
MADISON The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced it would request a wage lien for property and assets held by Charter Behavioral Health System of Wisconsin, a move that could help the state recover money owed to the companys former employees when it shut down without providing the legally required 60 day notice.
The state is currently investigating complaints concerning the closing of the company, which is located in West Allis, to determine whether or not proper notification was given. Wisconsins plant closing law states that anytime a business of 50 or more employees closes, or implements a mass layoff, it is required to provide 60 days advance written notification to employees, the employees union representative and the highest ranking municipality in which the business resides.
DWD Secretary Linda Stewart said the action was necessary to help protect the priority of the states claims on behalf of employees before the bankruptcy court. "Ultimately, it will be up to the bankruptcy court to issue a ruling in this case. We just want to ensure Charters former employees receive any unpaid wages."
If a business does not follow the state law, it can be required to pay employees their regular wages and benefits they would have earned during the 60-day recovery period. Businesses that violate the law can also be fined $500 per day of the 60 days that the head of the municipality is not notified.
The Department is filing a wage lien request in the amount of $2,506,171.00. This is the amount of wages and benefits believed to be owed to the companys former employees.
The state also filed a preliminary wage lien claim of $18,000,000 on February 23, in connection with the plant closing complaint against U.S. Leather, who also has filed for bankruptcy protection. U.S. Leather shut down its Milwaukee operations on February 4, putting nearly 600 workers out of work with only two days notice.
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