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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
Business News

Former Avantair employees sue over lost wages, layoff

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TAMPA - Two employees furloughed last week from Avantair Inc., a Clearwater-based air service, filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in Tampa alleging the company failed to pay them wages and violated a federal law requiring advanced notice before a mass layoff.

Avantair is a fractional ownership airline, which sells shares of its twin-engine turboprop aircraft to patrons who can schedule flights in lieu of flying on commercial airlines.

Plaintiffs Mary Peterson and Scott Piwinski sued the company and three corporate officers in seeking a jury trial to award damages for unpaid compensation for about 500 employees and other relief the court deems "just and proper."

The Clearwater firm of Kwall Showers & Barack, P.A., filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.

It claims that on or about Wednesday, Avantair notified the plantiffs they were "not in a position to fund payroll ... for time worked since June 8, 2013." Avantair also announced an "immediate furlough" and that it was unknown if the furlough is temporary or permanent.

Avantair officials could not be reached Monday for comment on the lawsuit.

The company in a message Friday told owners of its fractional shares that Avantair must restructure to emerge financially healthy.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

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