In Guippone v. BH S&B Holdings L.L.C., 737 F.3d 221 (2d Cir. Dec. 10, 2013), the Court of Appeals considered whether a private equity firm and/or a parent holding company could be liable as a single employer under the WARN Act when layoffs were undertaken at a subsidiary retail clothing store chain. The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's dismissal of the private equity firm but overturned the dismissal of the parent holding company finding:
The record evidence would allow a jury to conclude that Holdings was so controlled by HoldCo that it lacked the ability to make any decisions independently, and that the resolution passed by HoldCo's board "authoriz[ing] Holdings to effectuate the Reduction in Force" was, in fact, direction from HoldCo to Holdings to undertake the layoffs. Authorizing layoffs is not just a prerogative of ownership—it's a function of being an employer, especially where, as here, HoldCo was the sole member and manager of Holdings, and the HoldCo board operated as Holdings' board. There is sufficient evidence in the record to allow a jury to conclude that Holdings was not free to implement its  own decisions, and that the layoffs were, in fact, directed by HoldCo.
"[B]ecause the balancing of the factors is not a mechanical exercise, if the de facto exercise of control was particularly striking... then liability might be warranted even in the absence of the other factors." Pearson, 247 F.3d at 504 (internal citation omitted). Here, there is sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that HoldCo directed the layoffs with no regard to Holdings' separate corporate form. Given this, we reverse the grant of summary judgment to HoldCo.
The decision in Guippone can be found here.