Pace Airlines Hit with Class-Action Lawsuit

Staff Writer
October 14, 2009

A class action lawsuit filed Tuesday by a former employee of Pace Airlines Inc. alleges the company violated its employees’ rights by not giving proper notice before they were terminated.

Participants in the lawsuit are seeking 60 days of pay and other benefits, claiming Pace violated the WARN Act, which requires companies to give employees at least 60 days’ notice before they are let go.

Last month the charter airline company advised the Federal Aviation Administration it had temporarily ceased operations at its headquarters at Smith Reynolds Airport.

Earlier, according to a memo to employees, Pace executives laid off all nonessential personnel. According to company executives, the reduction affected between 75 and 100 employees. Those cuts were in addition to earlier layoffs that affected up to 200 people.

For weeks, employees had complained of not receiving paychecks and the company not paying their health insurance.

Also last month, investigators from the Department of Insurance arrested Pace owner and CEO Bill Rodgers Sr. on charges he knowingly stopped paying his employee’s medical insurance premiums without giving them proper notice.

The North Carolina Department of Labor said it has more than 430 wage complaints against Pace Airlines. The company also owes the Forsyth Airport Commission a million dollars in rent and must vacate its space at Smith Reynolds sometime this month.

The lawsuit was filed by Gregory J. Hensley and other former employees by Carruthers & Roth P.A. and Outten & Golden LLP.