Former Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs

Former Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs
© Greg Nash

A former field organizer for Michael BloombergMichael BloombergTop Democratic super PAC launches Florida ad blitz after Bloomberg donation The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Latest with the COVID-19 relief bill negotiations The Memo: 2020 is all about winning Florida MORE’s now-defunct presidential campaign sued on behalf of herself and other former staffers, claiming the candidate promised more than 1,000 staffers jobs through November before laying them off last week.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court Monday, Donna Wood argued the former New York City mayor deprived field organizers “of promised income and health care benefits, leaving them and their families potentially uninsured in the face of a global pandemic.”

Bloomberg, who ended his White House bid after a disappointing Super Tuesday showing, had initially planned to fund campaign efforts through November and continue to pay staff regardless of whether he won the Democratic nomination. But last week, he laid off staff and transferred $18 million to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to help defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE.

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“The Bloomberg campaign had represented to folks they were going to keep people on through November, regardless of his candidacy, which is one of the reasons we think he attracted such talent,” Sally Abrahamson of Outten & Golden LLP, one of the attorneys on the case, told NBC News. “He’s terminating, we believe, over 1,000 people at a time when we believe unemployment is likely going to be 20 or 30 percent, and they’re going to lose their health care.”

An interview script for job applicants seen by NBC and reportedly used by the campaign references “employment through November 2020.”

The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action certification, alleges fraudulent inducement and breach of contract as well as unpaid overtime compensation for field organizers who would have to join the case pro-actively.

“This campaign paid its staff wages and benefits that were much more generous than any other campaign this year," a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson told The Hill in an email. "Staff worked 39 days on average, but they were also given several weeks of severance and health care through March, something no other campaign did this year."

"Given the current crisis, a fund is being created to ensure that all staff receive healthcare through April, which no other campaign has done," the spokesperson added. "And many field staff will go on to work for the DNC in battleground states, in part because the campaign made the largest monetary transfer to the DNC from a Presidential campaign in history to support the DNC’s organizing efforts.”