A former staff member of the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles has accused the organization of violating state law when it suddenly dismissed about seventy employees after they announced plans to unionize last month. The foundation, which was founded by Paul and Maurice Marciano of the Guess clothing label, then closed the doors of its museum on Wilshire Boulevard, citing low attendance. According to the New York Times, an attorney representing ex-worker Kenneth Moffitt, said that a legal complaint was filed with the California Superior Court on Monday.
The lawsuit argues that the layoffs were illegal because they broke the California WARN (Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act, a law which requires employers to “provide employees and local government officials with at least sixty days notice before a mass layoff, a plant closure, or a major relocation.” The complaint also seeks class action status; compensation for damages—specifically sixty days of back pay as well as the value of forfeited benefits—and an injunction to prevent the defendants from taking part in illicit business practices.
In response, Richard Rosenberg, a lawyer who represents the foundation, told the New York Times via email that the foundation and the Marciano brothers are “aware of the new lawsuit and believe that there is no merit whatsoever to the underlying California WARN Act claim.” He added, “They will respond to the claim appropriately when the time comes.”