According to The Associated Press, former employees of the closed Nummi auto plant filed a lawsuit against the factory and Toyota on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. The employees say the Fremont-based company discriminated against them because they were on disability at the time of the factory's closure and, for that reason, were compensated less in their severance packages.
The lawsuit seeks a revised severance agreement, restitution, lost compensation, other employee benefits and monetary damages. The lawsuit seeks class-action status. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs believe that of the 4,700 workers who lost their jobs when the factory closed, 300 of them could be considered plaintiffs.
The New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or Nummi, plant opened in 1984 as a joint venture between General Motors Co. and Toyota. Last year, GM left after filing for bankruptcy protection. Without GM, Toyota had to shut the plant on April 1.
According to The Associated Press, many of the employees who were laid-off received a union-negotiated payout of at least $21,175 each. Employees who worked continuously in the six months before the plant closed received enhancements on that payment, a figure a lawyer for the plaintiffs says averages out to about and additional $32,000.
Attorneys representing the employees say that some of their clients had worked for the factory for 25 years and were injured in the six months before the factory closed down. They say their clients' lower severance packages due to their disabilities amounts to discrimination.
Former workers at Calif. plant sue Toyota, factory (The Associated Press)