Fisker Layoffs Followed By Federal Lawsuit Over Lack Of Notification

Follow Antony

2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

2012 Fisker Karma EcoSport

Enlarge Photo

The last few weeks have made painful reading for fans of electric car startup Fisker Automotive.

It seems fate has a few more nails to bang in to Fisker's coffin. Automotive News reports the company is now facing a federal lawsuit from 160 employees laid off on Friday, for breaking laws requiring companies to give adequate notice before mass dismissals.

The lawsuit adds to a litany of problems at Fisker over the past year, from the destruction of more than 300 Fisker Karma sedans at a superstorm Sandy-ravaged port, through stalled production, and the departure of founder Henrik Fisker.

This was followed with Fisker putting 160 employees on "temporary" furlough in recent weeks to save cash--and Friday saw Fisker lay them off for good--around 75 percent of Fisker's 210-strong workforce.

The employees have reportedly been given no severance pay, only compensation for unused vacation days. According to the U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), companies must give employees at least 60 days notice for terminations, a condition Fisker Automotive hasn't met.

Fisker has also violated local laws, according to the suit--failing to notify California's Employment Development Department, the local workforce investment board, and the top elected officials in Anaheim and Orange county of the layoffs.

The case has been filed by law firm Outten & Golden LLP--the same firm that won a successful $3.5 millio settlement against failed solar company Solyndra.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, the suit also says the company has failed to pay employees the wages and other benefits they would have earned in the 60 days following the layoffs. It isn't yet clear how much the dismissed employees are entitled to in damages, though the suit is seeking compensation equal to the wages, salary, bonuses and benefits each employee would have been entitled to over the period.

Fisker will need to prove it meets the WARN Act's exceptions rule, in which the 60-day period doesn't apply for "faltering companies" and through "unforseeable business circumstances".

Even if Fisker can meet those conditions, the company isn't out of the water yet. Loan repayments, a skeleton staff and little sign of production restarting all point to a rather bleak future for the once-vaunted startup.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Us


Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (2)
  1. easy to show unexpected business circumstance,
    they thought they could get a big foreign investor, once it became clear
    that wasn't going to happen, they had to issue furloughs.
    Post Reply
    Bad stuff?

  2. Yet, Fisker still kept its "remaining 53 employees, primarily senior management and executives"

    Why would anyone buy a company with no engineering talent and some expensive overhead cost such as senior management?

    This is one company that should have been gone a long time ago. It makes absolutely no sense. Its technical design is terrible. Tesla just blows this car away in every spec and technical design.

    I think it is a good thing that Fisker is going under so it doesn't give the "EV" world any more "dirt" than it already did...

    It also violated CA state law for NOT notifying EED especially since it is "operating" with senior management...
    Post Reply
    Bad stuff?


Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.