The Restaurant Law Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Retail Federation filed a joint amici curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the Enterprise Leasing Company of Orlando, LLC, et al. v. Benson appeal.
The brief argues that the appellant properly interpreted the natural disaster exemption in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act when laying off employees during the pandemic. In fact, many businesses, including restaurants, survived because they were able to make the difficult choice to scale back operations and order layoffs and similar measures as soon as the pandemic struck. It was because of their ability to respond immediately to a cataclysmic natural event—consistent with the WARN Act’s natural disaster exception—that many employers are now re-emerging and re-building, which benefits employees, their families, communities, and the overall economy.
“These lawsuits are possible only because the employers survived the pandemic by making the hard choice to lay off employees,” said Angelo Amador, Executive Director of the Restaurant Law Center. “COVID-19, a natural disaster, was the clear and direct cause of last year’s layoffs. Whole swaths of the economy—including restaurants—will face hard-to-resolve WARN Act class actions challenging last year’s layoffs if the district court’s interpretation of the natural disaster exception isn’t overturned.”
Read the full brief here.