HOUSTON - The fallout from ITT Technical Institute’s curt closure continues as employees filed a lawsuit claiming the company didn’t provide the proper 60-day notice prior to the mass layoff.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of the school’s 8,000 employees.
On Saturday, Carlton Bowen received an unscheduled bank deposit from ITT Tech. On Tuesday, he was laid off and by Wednesday, he finished filing for unemployment.
“There was no communication,” said Bowen, a father of seven. “There was nothing communicated to us saying we’re about to close.”
Bowen could be covered by the lawsuit that claims ITT Tech violated the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act, which requires 60 days’ advance notice of mass layoffs. Under the WARN Act, workers may receive up to $500 for each day of the violation.
“That [money] would be a great help because that will help pay off some of the bills that just keep coming,” said Bowen.
KHOU 11 News wanted to know which employees were alerted to the layoffs and failed to blow a whistle. In the hallway of ITT Tech’s West Houston location, there’s an emergency contact bulletin listing the Dean of Students, John Chiles, as a ‘person in charge.’ Former employees verified that Chiles stopped working for the school days before the shutdown.
“Do I think they deserve to be sued?” asked Bowen. “Yes, as a lesson. I’m just speaking personally; I think it’s just greed.”
KHOU 11 News left phone messages for the former dean Wednesday morning and afternoon. His secretary assured us that he did receive our messages.
ITT Tech West Houston campus director, Mukhtar Umar, is also listed as an emergency contact. The number given to reach a ‘person in charge’ connects callers to a voicemail that explains when the office is open.