Employees laid off Monday when Henrico County-based Colortree Group abruptly shut down expected to get their final paychecks on Friday.
That didn’t happen, several of them said.
“They didn’t care about putting us on the street and now I guess they didn’t care about giving us our last check,” said Carl Voltz, who worked as a printing press operator for the past 20 months.
Carol Blaylock, the company’s former director of imagination who worked there for the past 10 years, said she was “stunned” Friday morning when her money didn’t show up in her bank account.
“I’m outraged,” Blaylock said. “I can’t really say I’m not surprised. We were all betting back and forth if the money would go in on Friday. The week is ending pretty much as it started — really bad.”
On Monday, Colortree Group, which has operated for more than 30 years printing direct-mail envelopes, flyers, brochures and other products, abruptly closed its offices and plant at 8000 Villa Park Drive, located off East Parham Road near Brook Road.
It laid off all 240 employees.
Meanwhile, an employee at Colortree Group who lost his job has filed a federal lawsuit seeking lost wages for being let go without the required federal 60-day termination notice. The suit also seeks class action status for all of the employees who were laid off.
Terry Kennedy, a prepress operator, claims that Colortree Group failed to pay him and other employees their respective unpaid wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, health and life insurance premiums, accrued holiday pay and accrued vacation for 60 days following their terminations.
The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond, alleges the company violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act. That law requires companies with a large number of employees who are being laid off as part of a mass layoff or plant closing to provide 60 days’ advance notice or to pay them their wages and benefits for the 60 days.
Rene S. Roupinian and Jack A. Raisner, lawyers with the New York-based Outten & Golden LLP law firm, filed the suit with Jennifer J. West and Edward E. Bagnell Jr. of the Richmond-based Spotts Fain PC firm.
The lawsuit against Colortree Group is similar to one filed last month by an employee of Live Well Financial Inc. after she abruptly lost her job when the Chesterfield County-based mortgage lender and servicer ceased operations on May 3. Roupinian and Raisner filed that suit on behalf of the employee.
Colortree Group filed a WARN Act notice on Tuesday informing officials of the job cuts at its plant. The notice did not give a reason for the closure.
James “Pat” Patterson, Colortree Group’s owner and its president and CEO, could not be reached for comment.
Blaylock said her manager sent a text Friday morning to her and other workers saying the manager understood that Colortree Group officials were working on the problem. The manager told them that the funding from the bank did not meet the timing deadline and therefore was not transferred into employee bank accounts.
The text told the workers that the company expected that the funds would be transferred to employee accounts early next week.
“I don’t know what their bank situation is, but I’m looking for my money to hit this morning and it didn’t happen,” Voltz said Friday morning.