Winnsboro, SC (WLTX) - A week after the unforeseen abandonment of construction at VC Summer nuclear plant, former employees are wondering what their legal rights are.
License plates from all over the country sat in the parking lot of the Carolina Event Center, as hundreds flooded the information session led by attorney Amy Gaffney. The room was so packed, the doors were shut and people spilled into the streets.
"You're seeing a lot of angry people, and if you ask me we have every right to be angry," said Robert Burn, a former employee.
"I've been a part of power plants for a long time, and I've never seen it done like they did it on the 31st," said Melvin Henderson, another former employee.
"We're hoping to get some type of closure and some settlement out of this, I mean they completely abandoned all their employees," said Dillon Heinzerling.
But what settlements could they be entitled to? We asked Nekki Shutt, attorney at Burnette Shutt McDaniel Law Firm.
"Employees should've gotten 60 days written notice under our federal WARN act," Shutt said.
WARN is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act.
"It's a federal law that applies to any employer that has 50 or more employees," Shutt said.
If a lawsuit were to win, Shutt says they could be entitled to some money.
"They'd be eligible to receive 60 days of pay plus the potential to recover attorney's fees for their attorney," Shutt said.
Shutt also said workers should make immediate decisions on how to go forward with their healthcare.
"Within 60 days of them being terminated, they have the right to go into the marketplace for healthcare," Shutt said.
Shutt says she is referring to a part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act (COBRA) notice.
"If they don't do it now, their next opportunity to enroll in the Affordable Care Act will not be until the end of the year and they couldn't get any coverage until 2018, so this 60 day window is really critical for the employees as well.
Here is Shutt's further explanation into health care options:
Attorney Amy Gaffney noted that today was not meant to establish an attorney client relationship, but could potentially lead to a lawsuit against the company for their failure to give adequate warning of the layoffs.
Fairfield county councilman Jimmy Ray Douglas says the county also has attorneys working on possible legal remedies right now, but couldn't comment any further.