Matilda "Millie" Cantwell hasn't seen a paycheck in nearly a month.
The 74-year-old woman doesn't go out with her friends or out to bingo any more. Social Security is barely carrying her through. She used to work at Eastern Research Services conducting telephone surveys for banks, hospitals and politicians. But that was cut short on March 22, when the company unexpectedly shut its doors without explanation.
Cantwell was counting on that last paycheck of $374 to tide her over. It never came.
The Philadelphia-based company employed 150 people at a branch in El Paso, Texas, and 120 in New Port Richey.
Now, Cantwell is one of several dozen former employees who filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the company.
The complaint, filed March 30, states that Eastern Research's abrupt closing was in conflict with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or the WARN Act, which requires companies to give at least 60 days written notice before closing. Otherwise, workers are entitled to 60 days of pay and benefits.
The case is being handled by Outten & Golden LLP. Eastern Research founders Mike Marcus, Nicholas Mannino and Kean Spencer have one month to respond to the complaint, which accuses them of failing to give notice, failing to pay final wages and cutting off insurance.
"All of those things were wrongful," said Jack Raisner, one of the attorneys representing the employees.
"So, we're going to redress in whatever means we can pursue."
He said he won't know what else will happen in the case until the founders respond. None have returned phone calls from the Tampa Bay Times.
As for Cantwell, she found another job doing the same thing as Central Research Services, three days after the unexpected closing.
She's waiting for her first pay check to come on Monday.
Alex Orlando can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.