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Former Staffers Sue Bloomberg Campaign Over Layoffs

Wall Street Journal - Tarini Parti

Former field organizers for Michael Bloomberg’s campaign have filed two proposed class-action lawsuits in federal court in New York City, making the case that the staffers were terminated after being promised jobs and benefits through November.

One of the lawsuits, which is seeking a minimum of $48 million in damages, argues that Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign “fraudulently induced” staffers into working for him and failed to pay staff overtime wages, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Donna Wood, who worked in Miami for the former New York City mayor’s presidential bid, is named as the plaintiff.

Last week, the billionaire and his advisers decided against absorbing his existing infrastructure into a new outside group as he had planned and instead said he would transfer $18 million from his campaign account to the Democratic National Committee.

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Sally Abrahamson, a lawyer for Outten & Golden who is representing Ms. Wood, said she had already received calls from dozens of former staffers saying “they want to be an active participant in this case,” she said.

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Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign laid off all staffers on Friday after he decided not to launch a new outside group. Staffers were told they would be paid through the first week in April, have full benefits through the end of April and could still apply for jobs with the DNC without any guarantees of employment.

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“By law, I can’t see what the exemption would be here,” Ms. Abrahamson said. The campaign declined to comment on the overtime allegation.