March 31, 2020
Dear Cookie’s Employee:
Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and the dramatic economic downturn outside of our control, we are implementing measures to ensure the stability of the Cookie’s Department Stores (the “Company”). The current pandemic situation has impacted our business significantly, and, as a result, we find that we must make some difficult personnel decisions. One of the measures we are taking is to terminate a substantial portion of our workforce.
The purpose of this correspondence is to formally inform you that you are being terminated effective today. This notice is being provided in accordance with the New York Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN”) and any similar federal, state or local law. The dramatic economic downturn outside of our control has resulted in us having to close all our stores and the evaporation of a significant portion of our business. This termination includes employees located at various sites, even though at this time our intention is not to close these locations permanently.
This letter is notification of your termination. We have no choice now but to terminate you as we do not know when businesses will be allowed to open. Please note that terminated employees do not have bumping rights, that is, the ability to use your seniority with the Company to remain employed by displacing another employee from his or her job.
If you participate in the Company’s health insurance plan you will be able to continue your medical benefits if you elect to do so through COBRA, which notices will come under separate cover.
Although WARN requires 90 days’ notice of this employment loss, unfortunately, we are not able to provide this 90 days’ notice due to, among other things, the unforeseeable business circumstance affecting the Company as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic including, without limitation, the various Executive Orders issued by the Governor, including the mandatory closing of our businesses. Therefore, we are providing as much notice as is practicable.
As a result of your employment loss, you may be eligible to receive job retraining, re-employment services, or other assistance with respect to obtaining new employment from the New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) or its workforce partners upon your termination (if applicable). You may also be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits after your last day of employment. Whenever possible, the DOL will contact your employer to arrange to provide additional information regarding these benefits and services to you through workshops, interviews, and other activities that will be scheduled prior to the time your employment ends. If your job has already ended or you are on furlough, you can also access reemployment information and apply for unemployment insurance benefits on the DOL’s website (http://www.labor.ny.gov/home) or you may use the contact information provided on the website or visit one of the DOL’s local offices for further information and assistance. You may provide this letter to your local unemployment office as evidence of your reduction in hours.
By providing this notice to you, the Company does not concede that the WARN Act or any similar law applies or that notice is otherwise required.
We realize this is difficult news, and a challenging situation. You have made many positive contributions to the Company during your tenure and we thank you for your efforts. Please be assured that this layoff is in no way related to dissatisfaction with your job performance. We hope to rehire employees following this layoff but we are unsure at this time as to how long this layoff will last and the impact the pandemic will have on the economy. We will do our best to provide current information as it becomes available.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at.
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