Katten To Lay Off Some Workers Furloughed Amid Pandemic

By Dave Simpson
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Law360 (June 29, 2020, 10:52 PM EDT) -- Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP announced at a town hall meeting Monday that it will lay off some of the employees that it had furloughed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of July.

In April, the firm announced furloughs that would primarily affect business professionals who could not work remotely or whose work has slowed significantly, setting up a fund to supplement their incomes. But on Monday, the firm announced that it would be parting with some of those who were furloughed.

"We expect most of our offices will remain closed at least through the end of summer, and we expect that our use of remote work practices will continue in a significant way even after the current pandemic crisis passes," the firm said in a statement. "Given this and the realization that our administrative needs are fully supported through new approaches we've taken that better fit the remote work model, we have determined that it is in the best interest of the firm to permanently separate from some of our currently furloughed employees as of the end of July."

All laid-off workers will receive at least eight weeks of severance pay, a firm spokesperson told Law360. Workers will receive a week's pay for each year they've been with the firm, with no cap, the spokesperson said. All workers will receive health care coverage, at no additional cost to them, through the end of the year, the spokesperson said.

In April, Katten reduced salaries by up to 20% for attorneys and business professionals who make more than $100,000. It set a floor of $100,000 for the salary cuts, meaning that while those who earn larger salaries saw a full 20% cut in their paychecks, those who earn $110,000, for example, would see their salary drop by $10,000, according to the firm. The salaries of employees who earn less than $100,000 were not affected, according to Katten.

These cuts remain in effect, the spokesperson said. Equity draw cuts, which had stopped in May but resumed in June, also remain in effect, the spokesperson said.

The firm did not confirm the total number of layoffs.

"We deeply appreciate the dedication and contributions of these members of the Katten community," the firm said in a statement. "This was not an easy decision, but it was necessary in light of the ongoing crisis and our current and anticipated staffing needs."

In recent weeks, firms across the globe have enacted cost-cutting measures such as furloughs and layoffs to help weather the economic downturn of the pandemic. 

--Editing by Jay Jackson Jr.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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