Following the spectacular flame-out of doomed “centrist” news site The Messenger, owner Jimmy Finkelstein left hundreds of employees high and dry without severance pay or health insurance—prompting them to file a class-action lawsuit, citing New York worker protection laws. And staffers are particularly incensed, The Daily Beast has learned, because an employee handbook—put together by The Messenger’s HR department—promised severance in the event of mass layoffs or restructuring of the business.
The manual in question addressed a theoretical “reduction of force” or “reorganization” by noting that impacted employees would be paid a certain amount following job cuts. “Severance will be paid at the rate of one and a half (1 ½) weeks per year of service, not to exceed six (6) months in duration. Subject to applicable law, employees shall be required to execute the Company’s standard release as a condition of receiving severance pay,” the handbook explains.
Ex-employees told Confider that the two dozen Messenger staffers who were laid off a month before the site’s implosion did indeed receive two weeks’ severance—but those who remained until the end were left empty-handed.
Source: The Daily Beast
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