Canton, OH: (Oct-11-07) Former employees brought a class action lawsuit against Seiple Lithograph alleging that the company breached a contract. The lawsuit claimed that former owners Mark Schumacher and Robert "Cy" Schumacher, and the grandsons of founder Robert Seiple intermingled corporate assets and income to defraud creditors, including the employees and retirees. The lawsuit stated that when the employees went for work on Aug. 3, 2006, Jackson Township police turned them away. They were told the business was closed and no one was allowed in. The lawsuit alleged that the company violated the WARN Act, a federal law that requires 60 days notice of mass layoffs, and the company failed to maintain health care benefits that had been promised to retirees, as well as coverage for employees who had paid for benefits through the end of August. The case moved to bankruptcy court when Seiple went into liquidation.

In a settlement reached, the company agreed to pay $850,000 to end the class action lawsuit. Judge Russ Kendig approved the settlement. The settlement includes repayment to employees and retirees for the health care premiums they paid for August 2006, as well as coverage for any medical expenses for that month. Employees who were affected by a retroactive pay cut will be reimbursed, and money due for accrued vacation will be paid. About 140 former Seiple employees and retirees will benefit from the settlement. [CANTON REP: EMPLOYEE WARN]

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I have suffered both mentally and physically as a result of what appears to be a demotion based on my hearing impairment. I have also been denied the rights of appeal of my demotion since we do not have an HR person onsite, nor will Smith Barney post the required employment posters. I was a Senior Service Analyst for 2 years and was recently lowered to a Level 2 Reconciliation Associate. Note that all employees tenured over from Legg Mason in December of 2005 at the titular level. Now,two years later, without explanation, the firm has decided to "fix the titles" of everyone, regardless of their experience or knowledge. I am concerened since the firm no longer has an HR person onsite for 170+ people, does not have the employment posters, and seems to have demoted those of us in particular age or protected categories. I do not feel as though I have an advocate within the firm, and I feel both humiliated and shamed since I worked very hard at Legg Mason, was proted multiple times, and now, Smith Barney refuses to address its recent changes. I have additional information as needed.

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