Boston, MA | July 24, 2023
Fulfillment company sued for firing over a hundred workers with no warning over the holidays
Billerica-based Fulfillment America, Inc., with a history of labor infractions, once again faces workers’ claims of violating rights.
The staffing industry has shifted from providing temporary workers
during seasonal changes in labor needs to providing year-round labor. While many temps work alongside a company’s own employees doing the same work, they are much more likely to be victims of workplace abuses.
Fair Work PC and non-profit Justice at Work joined forces to represent workers, who have been supported by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), in a class action filed last Thursday (7/20/2023) at the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The complaint details how more than 100 staffing agency employees were fired by Fulfillment America when it abruptly cut ties with the staffing agency that for many years supplied it with workers. The complaint alleges:
-More than 100 workers were fired on or around New Year’s Day 2023 without adequate notice as mandated by the WARN Act;
-Workers merely received a text message stating that effective the following day their services were no longer needed;
-Workers were not timely paid final wages due at termination in violation of the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Act; and
-At all times relevant to the complaint, the terminated workers were jointly employed by the staffing agency and Fulfillment America.
Despite many years of loyal service and dedication to Fulfillment America, getting paid only minimum wage, over 100 workers were left to enter 2023 without work and not knowing how they would provide for themselves and their families.
Lucia Guardado, one of the terminated employees, states: “I worked for Fulfillment America for over ten years, and on New Year’s Day 2023 I received a message that I was being let go. This was right after the busy holiday season when we worked incredibly hard to help Fulfillment America through the holiday rush. The months following the firings were full of anxiety, sadness, and stress as we did not know how we would provide for our families, pay rent, and pay bills. MassCOSH listened to us and taught us about our rights and because of their support, we have stood up for ourselves. We will continue to fight and we are grateful for the support we have received during this difficult time.”
“These loyal workers abruptly learned their lives were being upended while celebrating the holidays with their families,” said Fair Work Attorney Oz Vazquez. “Fortunately, federal and Massachusetts law gives them tools to enforce their rights, and we’re honored to be part of the team working to make sure they receive justice.”
Francisca Sepulveda, Immigrant Worker Center Director for the Massachusetts Coalition of Safety and Health(“MassCOSH”), where the terminated workers learned of their rights and were connected with legal support, adds: “Although MA has laws that provide certain protections to workers employed through temporary agencies, most workers are frequently experiencing wage theft, discrimination and predatory fines that cut into their paychecks. This is an essential industry that is rapidly growing, providing over $160 billion to the U.S. economy. Many companies depend on temporary workers to get through busy seasons because of the flexibility and low costs associated with their labor. It is time to update our laws and strengthen the legal protections for temporary workers so companies that benefit from cheap labor are held responsible when using their power over working people unjustly.”