Bankrupt Earth Fare faces lawsuit

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Bankrupt Earth Fare faces lawsuit

By Gina Acosta - 02/07/2020
A look inside an Earth Fare store in Florida.

Employees of bankrupt grocer Earth Fare are suing the Asheville, N.C.-based retailer for what they say is a violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the employees have filed a class action claiming that they weren't give the 60-day layoff notice required by law when Earth Fare told them they were losing their jobs. The WARN Act requires employers with more than 50 employees to give them written notice 60 days ahead of closures and mass layoffs.

Sister publication Progressive Grocer reported the story and did not receive a response after reaching out to Earth Fare for comment.

Earth Fare revealed on Feb. 3 that it would close all of its stores and begin inventory liquidation immediately, becoming the third U.S. grocer in recent weeks to seek a sale or shut down.

Earth Fare operates about 50 stores. The chain said that all employees had been notified of the impending closure of the company's stores and corporate office, but did not specify when the notification occurred. 

At a time when the food retail industry is crowded with everyone from Amazon to dollar stores selling natural foods, Earth Fare had positioned itself as a grocer aiming to raise food industry standards. The retailer boasted two growing private label brands in the natural space, too. Per a profile in Store Brands, the company had also implemented numerous strategic initiatives aimed at growth and expansion and enhancing the customer experience.

Gina Acosta is an editor and writer with Progressive Grocer.