Fisker Automotive hit with lawsuit due to last-minute layoffs

Brittany A. Roston - Apr 8, 2013
Fisker Automotive hit with lawsuit due to last-minute layoffs

Fisker, maker of the beautiful Karma hybrid luxury vehicle, had a rough time last year, reportedly having fire issues with some of its cars and then losing hundreds of them during Hurricane Sandy. On April 5, we reported that the company had laid off about 75-percent of its workforce in what seemed to be a last-ditch effort to pull out of bankruptcy. It has surfaced that the same day the layoffs took place, a lawsuit was filed against Fisker.

Fisker had a moderate 213 employees, 160 of whom it gave the boot with little warning last week, with the lawsuit stating that they should have received a 60 day written notice in advance by law. Because Fisker failed to do this, it is said to have violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, and thus class-action status is being sought in the legal proceedings.

The lawsuit was initiated by Sven Etzelsberger, a former employee, via Outten & Golden of California. The lawsuit wants Fisker to pay up 60 days’ of wages/benefits for all who were let go. Fisker hasn’t replied to comment requests, and hasn’t said anything official about the lawsuit. Such a mandate would place additional financial strain on a company that is already on the verge of going under.

Like several other green initiatives, Fisker received tax-payer money via a federal program (Advanced Vehicle Technology Loan, in this case) to the tune of $529 million, of which it only got $193 million before the kibosh was put on the loan over failure to meet certain terms. Of that $193 million, the company is supposed to make its first loan payment this month.

[via USA Today]

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