Farmington, CT—Ultimate Nutrition has closed its doors—and now, they’re facing a class action lawsuit from their former employees, who showed up to work on August 19 and found a sign on the door notifying them of their termination.
The Hartford Courant reports that the lawsuit claims that Ultimate Nutrition and its affiliate Prostar violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires every company with more than 100 employees to give at least 60 days notice before mass layoffs. The suit was filed by Chris Kingsbury, a former employee, on behalf of around 150 employees. They’re looking for 60 days worth of unpaid wages, pension and 401(k) contributions, which the case summary values at $1.5 million. The lawsuit claims that Brian Rubino, who has been listed as the company’s owner since 2016, made “the decision to order a mass layoff and/or plant closing without providing a WARN notice.”
NBC reported that, although Ultimate Nutrition is registered with the Chamber of Commerce, the Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce told NBC: “We have not been contacted by Ultimate Nutrition and we are unaware of the closures. We hope Ultimate Nutrition reaches out to the Department of Labor Response Team to help any individual that has lost their jobs to get assistance and enrolled in the unemployment programs to find a new position.”
According to a photo posted on Kingsbury’s Facebook page, the sign notifying employees of their termination reads as follows:
“If you are reading this, please be informed that your employment has been terminated effective August 17, 2019.
“A packet of information will be sent to your mailing address within the next few days.
“If you do not receive the packet or have any questions, you can contact us by writing to us at PO BOX 643, Farmington, CT 06034…We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Fox reported that Kingsbury not only never received any packet in the mail, but that he met with Ultimate Nutrition’s then-president, Carl Hauptman, shortly after, and found out that Hauptman—who was on vacation at the time—didn’t know that he was losing his job.
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Kingsbury told Fox: “It was a shock to all of us. They had just brought on some new executives, they had promoted mid-level managers to higher-level managers. Folks left good careers to come work here just a few weeks previously.” He added: “Mr. Rubino, there’s plenty of ways you could have done this to still be thought of favorably. It’s unfortunate that you took this one path that really made such a detrimental impact to all of the people who were professional and were dedicated.”
The Courant noted that the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014, and emerged from bankruptcy in 2016.
Ultimate Nutrition’s official website and Twitter are still up, although their Facebook and Instagram pages have been deactivated. Their most recent tweet, posted the day before they closed their doors, urges people to try their “ALL NEW” protein cookie bites.