Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Art Van Workers Demand Owner Pay Back Benefit Accounts Lost in Bankruptcy

  • Employees ask refund of cash they put into flex spending plans
  • Benefits and severance were denied after retailer liquidated
Operations At The Bunk & Loft Factory Ahead Of Durable Goods Figures

Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Workers dismissed by bankrupt Art Van Furniture Inc. are demanding that private equity owner Thomas H. Lee Partners pay back money they contributed to their own flexible spending benefits accounts that was lost in the chain’s liquidation.

The workers forfeited as much $525 each when they lost access to cash in their flexible savings accounts and health care savings accounts as part of the retailer’s liquidation, according to a copy of a letter to T.H. Lee reviewed by Bloomberg News. It’s the latest instance of workers pushing for better treatment in retail bankruptcies, which has been forcing lenders and private equity owners to rethink their assumptions about the costs of dismantling a company.