Lillian Vernon Fires Employees Four Days Before Christmas

Longtime catalog business Lillian Vernon, famous for its dinky personalized items—and under corporate ownership of one sort or another since 2003—decided to personalize the sensation of being terminated last Thursday, reports the Virginian-Pilot. Although seasonal workers have always been a big part of LV’s holiday workforce, this time around the axe fell on longterm employees who showed up to their normal, year-round jobs that morning. “Lillian Vernon officials declined to comment on the layoffs. Philip Read, a company spokesman, answered his wireless phone Friday and said he was no longer employed by Lillian Vernon as of Thursday.”

At a 2pm meeting on Thursday, the employees were brought their belongings, told they were being terminated due to rising shipping costs, and told if they wanted their two-weeks severance pay they’d have to sign a termination letter. And, naturally, they wouldn’t be paid for the upcoming holiday.

In 2003, [Lillian Vernon] sold [her company] to Direct Holdings Worldwide Inc., a holding company created by Ripplewood Holdings LLC and ZelnickMedia Corp., both of New York.

Sun Capital Partners Inc., a privately held investment company based in Boca Raton, Fla., bought Lillian Vernon from Direct Holdings in May 2006. In March this year, the company announced that it would lose 230 workers who handled customer calls and distribution for publisher Time-Life, which was consolidated with the operations of Reader’s Digest Association when Ripplewood bought that company.

“Lillian Vernon layoffs before holidays fuel woe, resentment” [PilotOnline]
(Thanks to Pat!)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.