Florida-based multistate cannabis operator Trulieve laid off some of its employees in Gadsden County earlier this month, resulting in a class action lawsuit from affected workers who claim the company did not give adequate notice before dismissing them.
Trulieve, which operates in Gadsden County by way of two cultivation sites in Quincy and a processing facility in Midway, has not disclosed the number of employees who were laid off, but said the move was meant to decrease “redundancies” amid the company’s continued growth, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Steve Vancore, a spokesman for Trulieve, told the news outlet that affected employees were offered alternate jobs at the company’s other facilities in Jefferson and Madison counties, and that those who did not end up in other positions were given severance packages.
Vancore also told the Tallahassee Democrat that the layoffs ultimately stemmed from Trulieve’s acquisition of Arizona-based Harvest Health and Recreation.
“We merged and acquired Harvest a year ago,” Vancore told the news outlet. “This has been part of our merge while we’re continuing to grow where we have redundancies and inefficiency. When you have 9,000 employees, this was really an efficiency move.”
Last week, employees impacted by the layoffs filed a class action lawsuit against Trulieve, alleging that the company did not provide the required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice regarding the terminations.
The lawsuit claims that companies are required to file a WARN Act notice if there are terminations “at the single site of employment during any 30-day period for 50 or more employees excluding any part-time employees,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The lawsuit was originally filed by Tallahassee-based attorney Tiffany Cruz on behalf of Ranjill O’Neil, who worked at Trulieve’s Quincy facility, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages equal to the total of unpaid wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay, accrued vacation pay and other benefits for 60 days after the date of the layoffs, the news outlet reported.
Trulieve has disputed the allegations, with Glenn Burhans Jr., a Tallahassee-based attorney and a partner in Stearns Weaver Miller, telling the news outlet that Trulieve “has complied with all state and federal laws with regards to reduction in force.”
“Where possible, Trulieve offered impacted employees new positions at the same site or at other sites in the area,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “Where transfers were not feasible or accepted, employees were offered severance packages.”
In a separate statement to the news outlet, Trulieve said the company is “committed to Northwest Florida,” noting a new 750,000-square-foot facility that the company built out in Jefferson County.
Trulieve employs roughly 9,000 workers across the U.S. and is hiring “for new positions in other areas,” according to the company’s statement to the Tampa Bay Times.