Sen. Charles Schumer announces legislation to strengthen a law requiring notice for large-scale layoffs

GATES — U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for changes in the federal law following the abrupt closure of 15 Friendly's restaurants in upstate New York.

Standing outside the shuttered Friendly's in Gates Monday, Schumer said a "gaping loophole" in the WARN Act allows the restaurant chain to shut down the locations without much notice to employees.

The federal law mandates employers give their employees two months notice of large-scale layoffs but under certain circumstances, one restaurant manager says he only got one hour's notice he was losing his job.

"The fact that they canceled our benefits the day of the closing but yet the next paycheck had benefits money coming out, benefits that we no longer had, was completely ridiculous," said Rob Carter, former Friendly's resturant manager.

Schumer announced new legislation to strengthen the law.

Earlier this month, the website restaurantbusinessonline.com cited Schumer as saying the Friendly's locations that closed, when grouped together, met a 50-worker threshold that would have required the two-month notice under the WARN Act.

Friendly's said that it complied with all employee notice requirements.

The last Friendly's location in this area, on Hamilton Street in Geneva, is set to close next month. In addition to Monroe County locations, a Friendly's in Eastview Mall in Victor recently closed.