2 Earth Fare employees file lawsuit as thousands lose jobs at closing grocery store

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Sunday, February 9, 2020
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2 employees sue Earthfare

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two Earth Fare employees are taking legal action against the closing grocery store on behalf of their more than 3,000 coworkers.

According to ABC-affiliate WLOS, the class-action lawsuit, filed by two women in Tennessee and Florida, claims the grocery store chain violated the Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act, a federal law intended to protect workers when large-scale employers close up shop.

Earth Fare announced Monday it will close all of its stores, including locations in Raleigh and Morrisville.

"Two in 3,500. I wouldn't be able to do it, I wouldn't have the backbone, I wouldn't know where to start," Jeff Swart, an Earth Fare employee in Asheville, told WLOS.

The WARN Act requires employers with at least 100 workers to give written notice 60 days before any layoffs happen.

WLOS reported the lawsuit seeks two months of unpaid wages, back holiday and vacation time and 401(k) contributions, among other damages.

However, when Earth Fare announced it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company claimed it notified all employees in accordance with the same WARN Act cited in the lawsuit.

Earth Fare did not respond to WLOS's request for comment.