Local News

Former QVC employees say they were fired unfairly

Posted August 20, 2009 6:10 p.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2009 8:07 p.m. EDT

— A group of former QVC employees terminated after the company’s investigation into suspected irregularities in employees' 401K withdrawals said Thursday they were fired unfairly.

More than 200 employees at the company's Rocky Mount distribution center were turned away from work earlier this month and placed on temporary unpaid leave, pending the outcome of the probe into irregularities in 401K withdrawals.

Employees were notified in a letter on Aug. 5 that they would need to prove the hardship loans were legitimate. Employees were to meet with human resources. Those who could not were subject to discipline, including termination.

On Wednesday, the company announced that the investigation was complete, but declined to release details about how many people had been terminated.

Company spokeswoman Tara Hunter said, "Out of continued respect for all of our employees, the specifics and results of the investigation and the individual meetings with employees will remain personal and confidential."

“If I say I used it for rent that’s what I used it for. My problem is they know we’re in a recession and they are having a hard time this year. Why don’t they think we’re having a hard time?” former employee Shirley Kelley

"I don't think that's fair because QVC right now still has people in there that should be out here with us," former employee Barbara Pittman said. "I just feel like they totally did us wrong."

A handful of employees gathered at the home of a fellow former employee in Rocky Mount Thursday afternoon.

"They cut our hours and (there were) no raises this year," Kelley said. "We got families."

Former employee Stephanie Williams suggested employees be asked to pay back the money instead of being fired.

"You act like we stole something. This was our money," Williams said.

Williams and other employees said they were notified of their termination through a phone call.

Hunter said employees who returned to work would be paid for any loss of scheduled hours during the investigation.

"As the plan administrator of its 401K Plan, it is QVC's responsibility to ensure that the plan is operating properly and complying with all applicable legal requirements, including the distribution of hardship withdrawals," she said.

"Accordingly, QVC initiated the investigation into the alleged irregularities and took appropriate actions in accordance with its internal operating principles."