Hotel workers in Westcheter win $2.7M settlement after unlawful firing just before pandemic

RYE BROOK, Westchester County (WABC) -- A group of hotel workers in Westchester County won a $2.7 million settlement after they were unlawfully fired just before the pandemic without any notice.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and State Senator Shelley Mayer announced the payment to the workers on Wednesday.

James said employees of the Doral Arrowwood Hotel and Conference Center were unlawfully terminated without sufficient legal notice and denied their rights and wages when it suddenly closed.

James joined a lawsuit and successfully argued that the hotel's lenders, U.S. Bank National Association and Anderson Hill Road Capital, LLC, violated the New York Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ("WARN") Act, by failing to give workers 90 days termination notice and failing to pay up to 60 days of lost wages for failure to provide such notice.

As a result of this lawsuit, James recovered the lost wages for the 250 affected workers, who have started receiving payments.

"Protecting hardworking New Yorkers will always be a top priority for my office," said Attorney General James. "More than 250 workers at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel were left to fend for themselves when the hotel shut down without sufficient notice, leaving them jobless right before the start of the pandemic. Today, we deliver big for these impacted workers -- finally providing the wages they were unfairly denied and holding these greedy companies accountable for violating their rights. Thank you to State Senator Mayer for her tireless advocacy on this issue and for her partnership in putting our workers first."

The workers will split the $2.7 million. Each will receive $6,000 to $15,000 based on their salary.

"This is wonderful news for the Doral Arrowwood workers who have finally gotten the money they deserve and are entitled to after being terminated without warning on Christmas Eve nearly two years ago," said State Senator Shelley B. Mayer. "Upon hearing that they were let go, I immediately reached out to ensure their rights would be protected under the WARN Act. We continued to advocate for the workers with the New York State Department of Labor and the Attorney General's Office. For the past year and a half, we remained in contact with the workers to ensure they were informed and their voices were heard throughout the case, including attending court appearances with them. Thank you to Jane Lauer Barker Esq., Attorney General Letitia James, and Commissioner Roberta Reardon, New York State Department of Labor, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the employees."

Doral Arrowood is a sprawling 114-acre resort that features a hotel conference center and golf course in Rye Brook, New York, that employed hundreds of workers.

In December 2019, Doral Arrowwood management informed its workers that the hotel would be shutting down in about three weeks and employees would be terminated at the beginning of January 2020.
Under the New York WARN Act, businesses with 50 or more employees are required to give workers a 90-day notice of termination if the business is closing. If an employer fails to give workers adequate 90-day legal notice, employers are required by the WARN Act to pay workers up to 60 days of lost wages.

The hotel failed to comply with the WARN Act, leaving workers to fend for themselves without pay weeks before the pandemic.

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