After plant closing, company  settles DOJ lawsuit for workers’ lost wages

By: - August 19, 2021 12:51 pm

Photo | PxHere

As many as 140 former employees of a Merrill factory that made windows and doors will share in more than $650,000 to compensate them for the wages they lost when the company shut down in December 2019 without notice.

Attorney General Josh Kaul announced on Thursday that the Department of Justice had settled a lawsuit that it filed in February against SEMCO Inc. The lawsuit charged that SEMCO broke the state’s business closing law when it failed to file a plant closing notice and notify employees 60 days in advance of its shutdown on Dec. 31, 2019.

“When an employer fails to give employees proper notice of a business closing, the negative impact of the lost jobs is compounded by the effects on families and communities,” said Amy Pechacek, secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), in a statement.

SEMCO has sent checks to eligible former SEMCO employees, according to DOJ, with the amounts calculated by DWD based on their wages. The settlement requires DOJ to attempt to redeliver any returned check during the 90 days after they were mailed, and to report to DWD on completed payments from the settlement.

At the time DOJ filed the lawsuit, a spokesperson said the agency had filed nine such suits since 2015.


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.