MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek have announced a complaint against Semling-Menke Company, Inc (SEMCO), a Merrill window and door manufacturer, alleging that the company failed to provide required notice to employees before ceasing its business operations. DWD concluded that 140 employees were due wages totaling $682,864.90. The legal action seeks to recover wages by enforcing a lien against all property owned by the company.
“Enforcing our labor laws protects working families,” said AG Kaul. “This case alleges that 140 people didn’t receive the required 60 days’ notice when SEMCO abruptly closed, and Wisconsin DOJ is working to get justice for these Wisconsinites.”
“DWD recognizes the significant burden placed on workers and their families when an employer fails to give employees proper notice of a business closing,” DWD Secretary-designee Pechacek said. “DWD believes in enforcing the law and is pleased to move forward in holding SEMCO accountable to its workers.”
According to the complaint, on December 30, 2019, SEMCO, for the first time, gave notice to all its employees that it was ceasing operations, and that all employees were terminated, effective as of December 31, 2019. As this action constituted a “business closing,” it falls under Wis. Stat. § 109.07(1m), which states that an employer must give affected employees 60 days’ notice of a business closing.
Following an investigation, DWD made an Initial Determination that SEMCO violated Wis. Stat. § 109.07(1m)(a) by failing to provide notice sixty days in advance of business closing and owes wages and benefits to 140 employees that would have accrued during the time from when notice was required until the date of closure in the sum of $682,864.90.