Fired Bloomberg Staffers File a Class-Action Lawsuit Against the Billionaire
One of the more unusual political developments in American history was the brief rise and fall of Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire showered hundreds of millions of dollars in his attempt to win the hearts and minds of Democratic primary voters. Along with being a bonanza for companies such as Facebook and YouTube, political workers were supposed to benefit from Bloomberg's largesse. However, a number of them are now filing a class-action lawsuit against the billionaire because they claim that they were promised jobs through November 2020 and now find themselves out of work. There are now two lawsuits pending against Bloomberg.
Bloomberg emerged on the scene with a promise to spend whatever it took to win the Democratic nomination for president. His unusual style of campaigning was to spend heavily on advertising and skip the primaries and caucuses in the early states. Along with his heavy advertising expenditures, Bloomberg sought to put together the most extensive political team that this country has ever seen. The billionaire wrote practically a blank check to hire as much expertise as he could assemble. However, it all came crashing down after cringeworthy debate performances and the rise of Joe Biden. After a stinging rejection on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg ended his run. He had promised that he would keep his campaign operation open to aid the Democratic Party.
Hundreds of Campaign Staffers Have Been Let Go
Fast forward several weeks and Bloomberg's hired guns have received pink slips from the billionaire. Instead of keeping his own campaign open to help the party, Bloomberg has simply transferred money to Democratic National Committee. The layoffs extended from headquarters personnel to field organizers who presumably have no candidate to canvass for in the field. The discharged personnel claim that they have been left jobless and without health insurance during the midst of a pandemic. As a result, they claim that they have no way of finding any new employment during this time.
The plaintiffs claim that the promise of continued employment through November was one of the main parts of the bargain between them and the Bloomberg campaign. They state that they would not have worked for the campaign without that promise. Their complaint details that this was a claim that was routinely made by campaign officials when they were interviewing candidates for campaign positions. They claim that this statement was made both verbally and in writing, but the pledge was then broken when the staffers were terminated from their positions.
The Plaintiffs Cannot Tell Their Story Publicly Because of a Non-Compete
Attorneys for the plaintiffs state that their clients would like to tell their stories. However, they signed non-disclosure agreements with the Bloomberg campaign and are not able to go public with their side of the story. As evidenced by the debates, non-disclosure agreements are one of Bloomberg's standard tools, and he usually does not release employees from them.
Additional campaign staffers are signing on to one of the two lawsuits. At its height, the Bloomberg Campaign had over 1,000 staffers. Hundreds of them have been laid off and left without jobs. Others have been transferred to the Democratic National Committee.
For its part, the Bloomberg Campaign defends itself by citing the generous salaries and benefits that it paid the staffers while they were employed by the billionaire. It has also set up a fund for campaign staffers to help with paying the costs of their health insurance. Some of the personnel are being paid salaries and benefits through April. However, the Bloomberg Campaign has not necessarily issued a public denial of the main charge that it promised people employment through November that it was now terminating.
To add insult to injury for the laid-off workers, campaign staff sent out an email to all headquarters employees that one staffer tested positive for COVID-19. Now, the terminated staffers have no employment and have been exposed to the coronavirus. Many of these staffers will be losing their health insurance within the coming days, leading them to incur possible medical expenses from the illness without anyone to cover it.
Certainly, hundreds of Bloomberg staffers feel misled and cheated by a campaign that made many promises to them. Whether the former New York City Mayor, who is worth over $50 billion, will be made to pay for those alleged promises remains to be seen. In the meantime, hundreds of political operatives are without a job during dire economic times.
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