Let's start off by assuring you that if you're a current or ex-employee of a company sending us information: A) We won't reveal your name if you ask to stay anonymous; and B) You really should leave a working return email address.
As to the matter at hand, we have received a request for legal advice from an alleged former employee of Midway, who writes:
"Those impacted by the recent lay off seem to have lost their PTO (earned vacation days). Class action law suit may be pending. Getting 2 months paid leave of absence was really nice, but that was required by law (the Mitchell Act) requiring 60 days notice for mass layoffs. After receiving a letter in the final week stating that the accrued PTO was NOT to be received in the final check, but in the following pay period, Midway declared Chapter 11 and evidently sent a subsequent letter stating that the PTO would not be paid at all. Evidently this is pretty common with bankruptcy. Is there a class-action lawsuit that people can join or should we all just file a claim in small claims court?"
Lucky for you, we've got a talented lawyer (and LGJ columnist) on staff, Mark Methenitis. Read Mark's response after the break.
The exact rules related to repayment of paid time off varies by state based on where the employee was working. If the state requires that the payout be made, then certainly the terminated employees need to look into legal action (which could be structured as a class action or on a case by case basis), and a local employment law attorney would be who they need to turn to in this case. However, other states may leave it to company policy or not speak to repayment of earned paid time off at all, so it does vary. Midway being based in Illinois, I believe those state rules require repayment of vacation time but not sick time, but former Midway employees should check with an attorney licensed in Illinois on the issue.
Hope that helps anonymous guy/gal! Midway, care to comment?