Only a few days ago, Florida-based cannabis operator Trulieve (OTCQX: TCNNFfired an unknown number of employees at a customer call center in Clearwater.

The new round of layoffs came on the heels of a Truelieve donation of an extra $5.5 million to a cannabis legalization initiative underway in the Sunshine State. To date, Trulieve has donated a total of $25.5 million to the Smart & Safe Florida campaign, which is seeking to place the legalization bill on the November 2024 ballot, writes Orlando Weekly.

What happened at the call center?

According to Kelli Heist, a former senior customer service agent and trainer, Trulieve suddenly began suspending its internal training classes and asking employees to work from home while new training materials were being created, reported Tallahassee Democrat. This was the first hint that something was wrong. Heist was fired a few weeks later. 

“I had a feeling something was up when they fired the call center manager that was there when I was hired and brought in this new team,” Heist told the outlet. “Right away, I got a feeling just by this new manager’s demeanor, he was there to shut the place down.”

In addition, a class action lawsuit was filed in federal court against the company this past December. The suit alleges that Trulieve is liable under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) of 1988 for failing to provide the plaintiffs and other similarly situated former employees at least 60 days advance notice of their terminations.

According to WCTV, the suit claims a number of workers were fired “without cause on or about November 29.”

Trulieve Responds

Benzinga reached out to Trulieve for comments on the recent layoffs, and the company’s executive director of corporate communications, Robert Kremer told us that the company had to incorporate some changes to provide better service to its customers.

“As we have grown from a single state to becoming a national organization, it’s required changes in how we serve our customers across the country,” Kremer told Benzinga. “We’ve made the decision to reorganize from a national call center to one that is state specific. So, our facility in Clearwater now only handles Florida-based calls. This change allows the customer to speak with someone who lives in their state and has a better understanding on local regulations, products and locations.”

Kremer explained that as the industry and environment change, businesses need adjust in order to survive, and stay loyal to their customers. “As the market environment changes, we must adapt. We regularly evaluate and refine our business operations to become more efficient. Trulieve will continue to hire and invest in other areas of the business, such as the Smart Safe initiative, as we look towards the future.”

As for the recently laid-off workers, Kremer explained that they were offered transfers to new positions or severance packages. “We offered impacted employee’s opportunities to apply for open positions. Where transfers were not feasible or accepted, they were offered severance packages. Trulieve currently employs approximately 7,000 people across the country and continues to hire for new positions in other areas of the business.”

Community Rage On Social Media

The layoffs triggered outrage …

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