PADUCAH — A local law firm confirms former Genova Products employees plan to sue the company regarding the way in which it conducted layoffs.
Genova Products announced Tuesday it's planning to give an official WARN notice to its employees that the plant in Paducah is possibly closing and they are all laid off. Genova makes vinyl pluming products.
WARN is short for the The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, a federal law that requires employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs that affect 100 or more employees.
More than 100 employees in Paducah were told in December they were indefinitely laid off due to a raw material shortage, some as early as November. An indefinite layoff means the company claims they are unaware of how long employees will be out of work.
Genova Director of Operations Joe Pusateri said in a statement that the bank would no longer provide money for raw materials.
He added: "Our singular objective was to get the plants up and running at all locations, so all of our employees could return to work. We believed we secured the funding on many occasions, only to have the deal sour for one reason or another at the last minute."
The employees started working with a law firm prior to Tuesday’s announcement. Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless said this news is hard for any community.
"It does feel like a little bit of a slap in the face, honestly, to our community when we see an employer closing down. This was an employer who had, you know, really good jobs," said Harless. "I know some of the employees reached out to me early on, and they really liked their jobs."
Genova Products is required to send WARN notices to the Kentucky Career Center Office of Employer an Apprenticeship Services, the city of Paducah and McCracken County, and former Genova employees. The Kentucky Career Center and the city of Paducah confirmed they have not received the official notices as of Tuesday.
The company said it tried to secure funding to reopen, but Pusateri said, "As customers and suppliers learned of our issues, they became wary of continuing to further our business relationships."
The company hopes there is a future for Genova Products with a potential buyer. Harless said the city would love to help Genova secure the new buyer.
"My hope again is to facilitate that acquisition, and hopefully that acquisition doesn't just mean buying the company as is," Harless said. "We've been hearing about their ideas of expansion if they would be able to acquire. We are open to committing the same incentives that have always been on the books for Genova. We are offering those to this potential new company."
The city of Paducah and McCracken County granted Genova Products two loans totaling $1.1 million in 2016 and 2017 for equipment. The company owes about $500,000 left on the loans. Harless said the company has made its January payment for the loans and has paid rent on the building.
We are working to get more information on the lawsuit and how many employees are part of it.