DeKalb County

State official says Sam's Club's sudden closing violated federal law

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A state lawmaker said Walmart violated federal law in suddenly closing a DeKalb County Sam's Club.
It's the only location in Georgia of more than 60 to close nationwide.

For the past two weeks, the store in Stonecrest has had a sign on its door that said "closed."

The nearly 200 employees who used to work inside that store, along with vendors and customers, said they got zero notice ahead of time that the store was shutting its doors. That’s where Rep. Vernon Jones said Walmart violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act.


The act said large employers are required by law to give workers a 60 day notice. Walmart, which is paying workers severance for 60 days, said they gave notice the day they closed and employees aren’t officially terminated until they stop getting paid in mid-March.

"Is this placed closed or not? Can an employee go in here and work? Those they laid off, no. can you come in here and shop? What about those vendors?" Jones said.

One mother said her son is one of the nearly 200 employees laid off.

“It was a good job for him being in school,” Leah Hemphill.

Jones called the closing sloppy and no one had any warning or time to plan for the closing.

"There's something going on here, something tricky here. Been messy from the very beginning and I just want Walmart to own up and fess up to it. They dropped the ball,” Jones said.

Jones said there's potential for a lawsuit, he'll be talking to lawyers, and soon be meeting with the state's attorney general.

“To hold Walmart and Sam Club's accountable,” Jones said.

Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach spoke to a Walmart official who said they gave the needed 60 days notice under the WARN Act.