Avantair Fighting to Stop a Class Action as it Slips into Bankruptcy

by Norman B. Blumenthal on September 12, 2013

The Florida-based private plane company was hit with yet another class action lawsuit for failing to pay for hours worked or properly terminating employees. However, the suit was filed only weeks before Avantair filed for involuntary bankruptcy, making a fair settlement unlikely. A representative of the company says that although Avantair set up an insurance policy for just such a lawsuit, the coverage may be exhausted. Unfortunately for the employees in the class action, this may constitute grounds for halting the lawsuit and leading to a less-than-fair outcome.

The lawsuit was filed in late June after Avantair violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by firing approximately 500 pilots with very little warning. According to the WARN Act, employees must be given at least 60 calendar days advance notice for mass layoffs for most companies with more than 100 employees.

Worker receiving unfair terminationThe goal of the WARN Act is to give employees and their families time to adjust to future loss of employment, seek other employment, and enter a training or retraining program if necessary. In general, the Act covers all employees, except for those who have worked less than 6 months in the previous year and those who average fewer than 20 hours of work per week. Two exceptions are described below:

  • Workers whose employers have fewer than 100 employees; and
  • Workers providing public services via regular federal, state and local government entities.

The company also failed to pay employees for hours worked when it chose to stop paying for time worked after June 8, 2013. Sadly, Avantair did not tell employees about these stop payments until the week of June 24th, meaning they worked for over 2 weeks with zero compensation.

The lead attorney representing the Avantair employees said they have no intention of halting the lawsuit without receiving proper compensation for all victims. This would not only mean paying for all hours worked with interest, but also compensating for the failure to give 60-day advance notice for mass terminations.

If you are facing (or have recently faced) a similar situation in California, contact the California Labor Law Attorneys of Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik. We will fight to get you what you deserve in a timely, effective manner.

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