Any Sample WARN Act Letters or Wage Claim Letters?

Your cruise director has received several requests from ex-Hellerites on how to compose a demand letter to the Dissolution Committee, how to compose a WARN Act letter or a Wage Claim letter. Let’s face it, while yours truly is no Faulkner when it comes to the written word, even I get writer’s block from time to time and find it hard to compose letters.

If you could post your samples (with your personal contact info redacted out) in the comments or send to me, hellerdrone@gmail.com, and we’ll get some good info out there for people to use.

I’ll start off with a sample of a letter sent to the Dissolution Committee:

November 10, 2008

Mr. Peter Benvenutti
Heller Ehrman Dissolution Committee
c/o Jones Day
555 California Street, 26th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Heller Ehrman Dissolution Committee
Heller Ehrman LLP
333 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

Dear Peter and members of the Dissolution Committee:

This letter constitutes a formal demand for payment of wages and other monies due me as part of my employment at Heller Ehrman LLP since April 14, 1912 (substitute your own start date) as Bad Ass Litigation Secretary/Diva (substitute your own title). The calculations are as follows:

• Accrued Vacation: ______ hours at _____ per hour = $_________

• Waiting Period Penalties (for non-payment of accrued vacation): $_____ per day at 30 days (October 11 – November 10, 2008) = $_________

• WARN Notice severance as agreed to in written notice on September 26, 2008: October 11, 2008 – November 28, 2008 = $________

The wages and penalties due are $_________. Please indicate to me in writing when I may expect payment for these wages. Please send all correspondence to:

_____________________
_____________________
_____________________

Sincerely,
Frieda Fondle

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15 Responses to “Any Sample WARN Act Letters or Wage Claim Letters?”


  1. 1 Observer 11 November 2008 at 2:49 am

    See some suggestions on the form letter (which is pretty good, HD), as indicated:

    This letter constitutes a formal demand for payment of wages and other monies due me as part of my employment at Heller Ehrman LLP from April 14, 1912 (substitute your own start date) to ________ (your termination date) as Bad Ass Litigation Secretary/Diva (substitute your own title). The calculations are as follows:

    • Accrued Vacation: ______ hours at _____ per hour = $_________

    • Waiting Period Penalties (for non-payment of accrued vacation): $_____ per day at 30 days (October 11[use your termination date if not 10/11] – November 10, 2008)[use 30 days after your termination ddate] = $_________

    Most eveything else you might need (info and forms) is here:

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm

  2. 2 Observer 11 November 2008 at 2:52 am

    Sorry, hit submit too soon:

    The wages and penalties due are $_________. The Dissolution Committee is in violation of applicable federal and California law by non-payment of these amounts due me. Please indicate to me in writing when I may expect payment for these wages. Please send all correspondence to:

  3. 3 Heller Lifer 11 November 2008 at 12:04 pm

    This may be a stupid question — when calculating waiting period penalties and WARN notice severance, do you use calendar days or business days?

  4. 4 hellerdrone 11 November 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Good question Heller Lifer – it is calendar days and not business days – at least the California law:

    [6] California Labor Code §203: “If an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or reduction, in accordance with Sections 201, 201.5, 202, and 205.5, any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced; but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days. An employee who secretes or absents himself or herself to avoid payment to him or her, or who refuses to receive the payment when fully tendered to him or her, including any penalty then accrued under this section, is not entitled to any benefit under this section for the time during which he or she so avoids payment.”

  5. 5 Heller Lifer 11 November 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Which leads me to my next question: Is this demand applicable to those of us not in California, and if so, do the specifics of the demand need to be altered?

  6. 6 hellerdrone 11 November 2008 at 1:57 pm

    More good questions.

    Only California has a “waiting time” penalty which applies to non-payment of wages. Employees are entitled to one day’s wages, up to 30 days, for each calendar day that the employer is late in terms of paying back wages.

    For non-California states, while the protections are not the same, most of the states (AK, DC, NY, WA, WI) have some form of protection. The key word however is “enforcement.” Very often the employee will either have to file a claim in Small Claims court, or if the amount is over the limit for Small Claims court, then they must hire an attorney who may or may not work on contingency – and if so, will take 30-40% of the proceeds. Keep in mind the judge may award court costs which may be equal to or less than that 30-40%.

    There are links to each states’ wage claim laws and offices here on Heller Highwater. The best way to find them is to do a search using the sidebar and enter “wage claim”

    Heller Drone

  7. 7 Anon West Coast 11 November 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Probably not a bad idea to throw in a line about reserving your right to WARN Act claims as well.

  8. 8 Observer 11 November 2008 at 5:14 pm

    HD, one clarification:

    While it’s probably not a good idea, individuals can file a lawsuit above the small claims court level without an attorney. Since the statutory liability on our unpaid wages/vacation pay is so clear, it might not be too hard to draft a winning complaint yourself. The hard part would be to comply with the procedural technicalities on your own. There is also still expense; in California the court fee just to file a complaint is over $300.

  9. 9 anon2 12 November 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Does anyone have a copy of Heller’s written policy on vacation pay due on last day of work? Do we need to attach a copy of that to the DLSE claim?

  10. 10 anon2 12 November 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I have one more question: What are the penalties for getting the final paycheck 13 days after being laid off? Is there a set daily penalty fee (for California)? I’m getting all my ducks lined up in a row now. I’ve had enough.

  11. 11 Observer 13 November 2008 at 4:44 am

    anon2, the claim info — including how to compute the delay penalty for last paycheck — is here:

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm

    and here:

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_WaitingTimePenalty.htm

  12. 12 Former Associate 13 November 2008 at 9:47 am

    Also, anon2, unless your final check included your vacation pay, the clock is still ticking on your waiting time penalties, as vacation pay is wages for purposes of your final paycheck.

  13. 13 Former Heller Assoc 13 November 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Any Heller insiders know what the current cash flow situation is? Does it look like we’re going to get paid?

  14. 14 Anon3 15 November 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I’d say yes we are going to get our vacation pay, but it probably won’t be until closer to the end of the year. (I don’t expect to be seeing any Warn checks coming.) I hear that the banks are pleased with the progress, a lot of money has been collected and there is still a lot yet to come in.

  15. 15 Anon 13 December 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Does anyone have a sample California WARN Act Class Action Complaint?


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