Employees sue Berkline over plant closingGREENVILLE, TN -- Berkline LLC has been slapped with three class action lawsuits filed by former workers who allege the upholstery furniture maker violated the federal WARN law when it abruptly halted operations on March 30.

More than 500 employees were impacted by the plant's closing.

Each of the lawsuits was filed in the U.S. District Court of Greenville cites that Berkline failed to observe the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN Act), which requires companies to provide 60 days notice before a mass layoff or plant closing.

Two of the complaints were filed on April 6. In the most recent lawsuit, filed April 11, the plaintiffs state that Berkline gave written notice of its intent to close the plant on March 30, the same day it shut down operations. "Berkline LLC also stopped all wages and insurance to most employees as of April 6, 2011."

All three suits name Berkline and Sun Capital Partners, which acquired Berkline in 2007. Each of the suits demand that employees receive 60 days of wages, unpaid 401K contributions and health insurance premiums for employees affected by the shutdown. In addition. the  April 11 filing seeks "no less than seeks $3.6 million" in damages to be determined by the court. 

In addition to the lawsuits, Berkline is being pursued for allegedly failing to pay its taxes. According to WVLT, a lien was filed in Hamblen County Chancery Court seeking $37,000 in taxes for 2010.

A lien filed in a Hamblen County Chancery Court on Monday claims Berkline owes more than $37,000 in taxes for 2010. The lien was filed by the City of Morristown, Hamblen County and state of Tennessee.

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