C. Wonder, the brand that billionaire Chris Burch launched after helping to build Tory Burch's uber-successful brand, is nothing if not shrouded in legal drama. You may recall that after Chris Burch opened C. Wonder in 2011, with its distinctly preppy, colorful, Tory Burch vibes, a handful of issues came to light. Chris Burch filed a complaint against Tory for allegedly sabotaging his ability to sell his shares in the Tory Burch company, as well as other claims, including breach of contract. To this, Tory claimed that Chris used Tory Burch investors to fund his “copycat” store C. Wonder. This lawsuit has since settled only to result in the closing of the C. Wonder brand and a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of disgruntled former employees.
In the latest lawsuit, C. Wonder is being sued for failing to give its employees at least 60 days notice of their job termination. According to the complaint, which was filed last week in a New Jersey bankruptcy court, the retailer is guilty of violating the federal Worker Adjustment and Restraining Notification (WARN) Act and New York’s labor laws.
C. Wonder announced early this year that it was closing all of its stores and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two weeks later. The complaint alleges that none of the company’s employees received advance notice prior to their termination, and that's not all. The suit claims at least 100 former employees were not properly compensated, and are owed wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay and accrued vacation for 60 days following their respective terminations, as well as 401(k) contributions, health insurance coverage and other benefits under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) for the appropriate amount of time.
Lead plaintiff Monique Carter is seeking up to $12,745 in wages as a priority claim and the remainder will be considered a general unsecured claim, as per the lawsuit, which also seeks relief for the other laid-off workers. The complaint comes one week after C. Wonder asked a New Jersey bankruptcy judge to extend its Chapter 11 exclusivity period beyond May 22 because, according to court documents, it needs more time to iron out its liquidation plan.