Workers locked out of QVC

August 5, 2009 5:16:11 PM PDT
A group of workers found themselves locked out of the QVC plant in Rocky Mount Wednesday.The distribution center, which handles shipping for the shop at home television network, employs some 900 people.

Locked out employees told Eyewitness News that about 250 workers who showed up for work Wednesday found their ID badges wouldn't scan at the entrance to the building.

"I swiped my badge and my badge would not register so security asked me to get in line to go to HR," Layvonne McAuley said.

At the human resources department, McAuley and others were given a letter that told them they were being investigated for falsifying documents to get early withdrawals from their 401k retirement plans.

The workers were told they have two days to meet with QVC loss prevention specialists to provide documents proving their innocence. If not, they will be terminated.

When contacted by Eyewitness News, a spokesperson for QVC said the company is investigating "alleged irregularities regarding employee 401K hardship withdrawals at our Rocky Mount Distribution Center," but due to the nature of the investigation, couldn't get into specifics.

The Rocky Mount QVC distribution center opened in 2000.

Locked out employees say they're angry about QVC's decision to lock them out. They said they felt that decisions regarding their 401k plans were there business - not the company's. They also said they had followed the rules and even paid early withdrawal tax penalties on any money they took out of their plans - so they were confused as to why QVC believes their actions to be improper.

"Most of us that have taken a hardship loan have taken it with the penalty, accepted the penalty and accepted paying taxes on it," said McAuley.

"They went back 2 years ago - now after 2 years you do this to us? We done paid the tax on it?" said employee James Draughn.


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