Laid-Off Andersen Worker Goes to Court

April 18, 2002 - Already the target of a host of lawsuits and a criminal indictment relating to its involvement in the Enron debacle, Arthur Andersen has now been hit with a federal court suit that charges that the company did not give workers warning of impending layoffs.

Fired Andersen worker Nancy Roquet filed the lawsuit in US District Court for Northern Illinois charging that the embattled audit and accounting firm violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. WARN requires companies to give soon-to-be laid off employees a 60-day warning or 60 days pay.

Roquet, an executive assistant who had worked at Andersen for three months, is seeking class-action status to represent the 7,000 recently laid-off Andersen workers.

Andersen denied it was at fault.

“We don’t believe the lawsuit filed by this individual has any merit,” says Patrick Dorton, an Andersen spokesman. “We offered our people a very fair package based on seniority of position and length of service.”

Roquet’s suit demands that Andersen pay the difference between 60 days’ salary and the severance pay that many staffers received. They also want the court to order Andersen not to destroy any personnel records. Roquet was eligible for two weeks severance pay.

Roquet filed the lawsuit on behalf of Andersen employees who were employed after March 1, who received less than 60 days’ severance pay, and who worked at a site where either 33% of the workforce or 500 employees were terminated.

Roquet’s attorneys estimate the class could number at least 2,000 ex-Andersen workers in the Chicago area.