Former employees of Michael Bloomberg have filed a class action lawsuit against the previous presidential candidate’s campaign, claiming losses after Bloomberg reversed plans to finance a field program through the November general election.
The move left 1,500 former campaign staff members across the country without jobs and health care benefits in the middle of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Shavitz Law Group, P.A. and Outten & Golden LLP filed the suit overnight in the Southern District of New York.
The complaint also alleges that Bloomberg 2020, Inc. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay employees overtime wages, as field organizers regularly worked well in excess of 40 hours per week during the campaign.
“Many of these field organizers and other campaign employees resigned or took leaves of absences from their then-current employment, and a lot of them relocated to different cities and states in order to work for Mr. Bloomberg,” said Gregg I. Shavitz, founding partner of the Shavitz Law Group and counsel to the class of plaintiffs in the case. “The campaign induced our client into employment and told her that it would last until the November election. Then they fired her and other hard-working Americans, pulling the rug out from under them in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic. Bloomberg should make this right.”
Bloomberg entered the presidential race late, announcing his candidacy on November 24, 2019. In order to attract employees, the complaint alleges, campaign organizers were guaranteed employment through the general election in November 2020 even if Bloomberg did not win the Democratic nomination. According to the complaint, the campaign also promised to provide full employer-paid health care benefits to campaign employees as well as their spouses, partners and children.
“We’re seeking appropriate compensation for our clients who took Mr. Bloomberg’s word and now are harmed as a result,” said Sally J. Abramson, partner at Outten & Golden. “People are going from a pretty generous health care benefit to projected 20 to 30 percent unemployment.”
In addition to Shavitz and Abramson, the class is represented by Tamra Givens and Michael Palitz of the Shavitz Law Group as well as Justin M. Swartz of Outten & Golden.
Shavitz is available for interviews. A copy of the filed complaint is also available.
About Shavitz Law Group
The Shavitz Law Group, P.A. is an AV-rated boutique firm concentrating exclusively on employee rights, with a particular emphasis in wage and hour litigation. Based in Florida, the firm’s employment lawyers litigate throughout Florida and the United States. For more information visit shavitzlaw.com.
About Outten & Golden
Outten & Golden LLP focuses on advising and representing individuals in employment, partnership, and related workplace matters both domestically and internationally. The firm counsels individuals on employment and severance agreements; handles complex compensation and benefits issues (including bonuses, commissions, and stock/option agreements); and advises professionals (including doctors and lawyers) on contractual issues. It also represents employees with a wide variety of claims, including discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability, national origin, religion, and age, and retaliation, whistleblower, and contract claims. The firm handles class actions involving a wide range of employment issues, including economic exploitation, gender- and race-based discrimination, wage-and-hour violations, and other systemic workers’ rights issues.
Outten & Golden has nine practice groups: Executives & Professionals, Financial Services, Sex Discrimination & Sexual Harassment, Family Responsibilities & Disabilities Discrimination, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Workplace Rights, Discrimination & Retaliation, Whistleblower Retaliation, Class & Collective Actions, and WARN Act.
Outten & Golden has offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.