Furloughed Biltmore Employees Head to Mediation Next Week
Source: Anticouni & Ricotta, LLP
Anticouni & Ricotta (former name Anticouni & Associates) represents a majority of 450 Four Seasons employees who were “furloughed” on March 20, 2020.
Furlough is defined as a temporary loss of employment when employees return to work within six months. The federal Department of Labor WARN Act regulations state “When a layoff is extended beyond 6 months, layoff is treated as an “employment loss” from the date the layoff started...” California court decisions and the California Labor Code also confirm that a furlough that lasts six or more months is a termination of employment. The Four Seasons has now been closed for 13 months and has cancelled all reservations through 2022.
The difference between a furlough and a termination of employment affects Four Season’s obligation to pay its former employees millions of dollars in severance compensation. Four Seasons is contractually obligated to compensate its former employees substantial Separation Pay when their employment has come to an end. Assuming the hotel opens on January 1, 2023, the employees would be out-of-work for at least 33 months. Because the layoff has now extended for more than 13 months, our clients are entitled to Separation Pay.
Over 250 former Four Seasons employees retained our law firm to commence legal action against the Four Seasons to obtain the Separation Pay. We did so. Four Seasons is owned by two of the world’s richest men, Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Each own 47.5% of the privately held company. Mr. Gates’ net worth $132 billion dollars.
Four Seasons has agreed to attempt a resolution of the legal action at mediation which is scheduled for April 30, 2021.
August 7, 2020:
November 10, 2020: Furloughed Employees Take Legal Action Against Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel