ESPN Zone layoff protest? Really?
Laid off employees from the now-closed ESPN Zone will still be getting paid until Aug. 15. After that, they'll get a severance package based on their time with the company. Apparently, this is not enough for some of them.
More than 20 of the 140 former ESPN Zone employees protested the layoffs, saying they violated federal workplace protection laws, according to this piece by The Sun's Gus G. Sentementes.
The employees are claiming ESPN Zone did not give them enough notice before closing.
Let's all take a deep breath and a step back and have a look at this situation ...
According to Gus' article, the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act "requires companies with more than 50 employees to give 60 days' notice before closing. ESPN Zone did file a WARN notice letting state officials know that workers would lose their jobs as of June 16, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation."
Even if they did violate this federal law, I'd like to point out the small but important point that ESPN Zone is paying them for two months after it has already closed. And then, on top of that, they get a severance package. Good lord!
There's no doubt, the service industry is brutal. Bars, restaurants and clubs close all the time without notice. Frequently, servers and bar backs show up for work one day and the door is padlocked. Do they get severance, or two months' pay? Typically, they're lucky if they get the money that's already owed them.
I'm not saying this is right. I'm just saying a whole lot of much, much shadier business practices happen at bars and restaurants all the time. Protesting something like this seems a little out of hand.
(Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna)