Seriously, they told me my check was in the mail.... and I believed them. How do I protect myself during an employer's bankruptcy?
January 16, 2011 11:19 PM Subscribe
My employer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy with little warning. What can I and my fellow employees (both currently employed and those recently laid off) do to protect ourselves?
posted by aristan to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
While anyone who's in a situation like this might feel hurt or angry, we feel as if we've been lied to repeatedly in the last few months and many of us no longer trust the upper management of our small company.
What can we do to protect our health insurance (some of us have chronic issues that may preclude us from other insurance), our holiday/sick time/vacation, and receive currently unpaid wages?
[Backstory, possibly a teal dear, but it might help explain why we feel that we need to protect ourselves.]
At Thanksgiving, our direct deposit suddenly stopped working and we began to receive paper checks. The explanation was that due to the holiday, it was easier to provide paper checks. (Our payday is Thursday so this seemed possible though not probable.) That week, some employees, especially those outside of our main region, had their paychecks bounce.
This has continued (paper checks, a few bouncing each pay period) up until this last payday, Thursday, when we were told that due to a snow storm that hit the region on Monday, checks would be a day late and we'd receive them on Friday. I was told, in person, by a member of upper management, that my check would be available on Friday.
On Friday morning we received an email from one member of management that stated that due to the bankruptcy filing, our checks would be mailed on Monday (Today, which is a federal holiday). The email also implied that the error was actually on the part of the payroll processor, rather than the previously blamed snow or the bankruptcy that had been mentioned in the same email.
This was the first most of us had heard of the filing. We did not officially learn of the bankruptcy for another hour when we received a memo via fax. The memo stated that they plan to eventually seek to liquidate and/or reorganize the company, though they are currently only seeking Chapter 11.
Within the last 6 months the company has closed two stores, one due to being very under-performing and one unexpectedly to avoid eviction and seizure of goods.
(And yes, most of us are looking for other work. Everyone is helping each other with their resumes.)