A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of more than 2,000 EMTs and paramedics who were abruptly laid off over the weekend.
Private ambulance company FirstMed EMS, LLC could be in hot water for suddenly letting go of their workers without notice or an explanation.
If you've never heard of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act, or WARN Act, it's a federal labor law that protects workers, requiring businesses to give early warning of closings and mass layoffs. The act is now the basis for an eight-page lawsuit.
“We understand the company has not been responsive and the employees are in limbo, so this is a perilous situation from the employees' standpoint,” said attorney Jack Raisner, who is now representing the former FirstMed employees in a class action lawsuit. “The federal law requires a 60-day notice for a layoff like this and that wasn’t given.”
All it took was one person coming forward to be a "Class Representative," and now FirstMed EMS, LLC is facing the class action lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where the company is based.
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“The nature of this shutdown without explanation leaves employees in a desperate situation regarding many issues,” said Raisner. “These people are in the emergency response business and they understood that time is of the essence to try to figure out what is happening to them. When a company goes dark suddenly with no explanation, does not seem to be responding to the normal requests employees have for their own welfare, it is in my view a deplorable situation.”
The lawsuit seeks to "recover 60 days of wages and benefits for the workers," citing the 60-day notice they should have been given as a requirement of the WARN Act. It covers all "similarly situated former employees" in Ohio, North and South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia "terminated without cause" on or about Dec. 6.
The suit is in its very early stages, but once FirstMed receives its summons, the company will have 30 days to respond.
Attorney Raisner said they've had a steady stream of former FirstMed employees contacting them over the last 48 hours. A source told WAVY.com it's estimated that around 200 people have signed up to be a part of this suit, so far.
If you've been affected by this layoff, visit www.WARNLAWYERS.com.