RALEIGH – QVC “will be closing and ceasing all operations” at the company’s Rocky Mount Distribution Center, following a fire that occurred on Dec. 18, 2021, and the company will lay off more than 1,900 facility workers, the company’s corporate parent has disclosed in a required notice filed with the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
“The company is still assessing the extent of the damage, but it is clear the site will not be operable and there will be no work for the team in the foreseeable future,” the required notice, which is signed by Alicia Keane of QVC’s corporate parent Quarte Retail Group, reads.
Keane, the firm’s director and people lead for operations, said the firm “plans to terminate” most employees beginning Feb. 1.
Some workers will be retained to “facilitate an orderly winddown of operations.”
Keane described the huge fire on Dec. 19 as “tragic.”
Companies must file a notice under federal law known as the WARN Act, which aims to protect workers, their family, and communities by requiring employers to provide at least 60 days of advance notice regarding certain plan closings and layoffs, under the below guidelines.
Businesses that employ at least 100 workers, but excluding part-time workers, are required to file a notice when the firm plans to close a plant that affects at least 50 employees during any 30-day period or conduct a mass layoff of at least 500 employees or a layoff that would impact 50-499 employees when the total number of layoffs would represent at least one-third of the employer’s workforce.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s WARN Report, lists the action taken by the company as “closure permanent.”
The notice written and signed by Keane states that the letter and notice is sent in conjunction with “the closure and cessation of all operations at QVC Rocky Mount, Inc.’s (“QVC”) Rocky Mount Distribution Center (“DC”).”
Later, the notice signed by Keane states that the company “will be closing and ceasing all operations” at the facility.
A spokesperson for the company told WRAL earlier today that “no long term decision about the site has been made.”
“We are still assessing the impact of the fire and, while we haven’t made any long-term decisions about the site, we already know the building will be closed for an extended period and there will not be work there for the team for the foreseeable future,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “The WARN notification to the state and local governmental officials is a federal obligation based on the loss of employment by our team members at this time, and it allows the various state agencies to begin to extend valuable assistance to our team members.”
Affected employees can apply for jobs at other company sites, Keane added. Last week, the company provided a $500 emergency allowance to every employee of the facility, the spokesperson noted, and the company extended “shutdown pay” through February 1, 2022, following which “applicable separation benefits will begin for impacted team members.”
The company will also provide other career transition services to employees, the spokesperson’s note stated. Affected employees will maintain current health care coverage until the end of February 2022 and then be eligible for COBRA, the spokesperson’s note stated.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include the received comments from a company spokesperson.