Ex-Messenger Staffers Sue Shuttered News Site Over Mass Layoffs

Just one day after digital news start-up The Messenger was shuttered and 270 employees were laid off, now-former staffers filed a class-action lawsuit against their former employer on the grounds that they were not given proper notice.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in the Southern District of New York and argues that the failure to give proper notice before ending their employment is a violation of the New York Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

The Daily Beast first reported the class-action suit against the Jimmy Finkelstein-founded start-up on Thursday.

The lawsuit’s plaintiff is The Messenger senior producer Pilar Belendez-Desha, who is also representing the other staffers impacted by the unceremonious layoffs and shuttering of the media company on Wednesday.

“Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of herself and other similarly situated former employees,” the suit reads, “who worked for Defendant and were terminated without cause, as part of, or as the foreseeable result of, a mass layoffs or plant closings ordered by Defendant on January 31, 2024 and within 90 days of that date and who were not provided 60 days advance written notice of their terminations by Defendant, as required” by the WARN Act.

The suit continues, “Plaintiff and all similarly situated employees seek to recover up to 60 days wages and benefits.”

The Messenger shut down abruptly on Thursday, less than a year after launch, laying off all employees without severance payments. The start-up’s website immediately went inactive without access to any archives, solely a link to the company’s general email.

The lawsuit additionally pointed out that remaining staffers learned their jobs were being terminated from a New York Times article, rather than from The Messenger management themselves.

Additionally, the suit alleges none of the employees, including Belendez-Desha, received any prior notice of their terminations ahead of the shuttering of the outlet on Wednesday.

In the 11th hour, Finkelstein attempted to save The Messenger from having to close down, after burning through cash, by reaching out to Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, TheWrap reported Wednesday. Finkelstein sought to offer a merger. However, the L.A. Times insisted that a deal was nowhere close to being agreed upon.

The post Ex-Messenger Staffers Sue Shuttered News Site Over Mass Layoffs appeared first on TheWrap.