Bristol Compressors ordered to pay $1.4 million to 128 former employees for labor violation

Investigations
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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — A compressor manufacturer formerly based out of Bristol must pay damages to more than 100 workers whose August and November 2018 terminations violated a federal act requiring 60 days’ notice.

Judge James P. Jones’s order signed Wednesday and obtained by News Channel 11 means Bristol Compressors LLC must pay 128 former employees a total of almost $1.4 million for violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

The awards are based on either 42 or 43 workdays for each employee and range from a little over $5,000 to more than $20,000 in the case of several management-level employees.

The average award is more than $10,000. The amounts also include 2.42% interest.

Jones’s order, entered in U.S. District Court for Virginia’s Western District, said that Bristol Compressors International LLC, a company out of Thailand that purchased Bristol Compressors the year after the layoff, had claimed it was exempt from the WARN Act.

Jones found “that the [former employees] are entitled to payment for the workdays included in the 60 calendar days following their terminations without cause and without 60 days’ notice.”

The WARN Act Guide for Employees defines a mass layoff as when an “employer lays off either between 50 and 499 full-time workers at a single site of employment, and that number is 33% of the number of full-time workers at the single site of employment.”

The judge continued by adding that when the court held a bench trial for the case on July 19, “no representative of [Bristol Compressors] appeared at the trial.”

Bristol Compressors had been operating off of Industrial Park Road in Bristol for 43 years before announcing its closure in July 2018, leaving over 400 workers jobless.

The bought-out company is facing a total of $1,392,915.40 in damages, but Jones also ordered that the former workers’ attorneys can file for a motion of attorney fees and non-taxable costs within 21 days.

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