The operator of Ebony magazine is facing a proposed class action lawsuit filed by seven former staffers who claim they haven’t been paid for their final weeks of work.
Ebony and co-owned Jet magazine, which are described in the complaint as “two of the most prominent publications covering the Black perspective on societal issues over the last approximately 70 years,” were acquired in June 2016 by private equity firm CVG Group, LLC, the lawsuit explains. Ever since the acquisition, the case alleges, defendants CVG and Ebony Media Operations, LLC consistently laid off staffers without paying their final wages, which, according to the lawsuit, has resulted in “prior litigation, public vitriol, and the viral social media hashtag, ‘#EbonyOwes.’”
According to the lawsuit, the defendants between May 19 and June 14, 2019 laid off many of their approximately 40 staff members and “predictably” failed to pay the workers one to four weeks’ worth of wages, as well as 401(k) contributions, accrued vacation time, and reimbursement for work-related expenses. Per the plaintiffs, the magazines’ employees received an email on May 30, 2019 in which the defendants acknowledged the apparent wage violations and confirmed that they “extended to all Employees.”
The lawsuit notes that Ebony Media and CVG have faced litigation over unpaid wages before, citing a lawsuit filed by former freelance workers that resulted in an $80,000 settlement.
The case seeks to cover anyone who has been employed by the defendants during the full statute of limitations period.