FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) -- After a Farmington business abruptly shuts its doors, leaving dozens without jobs, the Dept. of Labor is weighing in to explain what employees can do next.
Ultimate Nutrition, a nutritional supplement company based in Farmington, shut down without a warning, leaving employees scrambling to find new jobs and make sure they get paid their wages.
On Monday, employees were stunned.
Tuesday, boxes and pallets were piled up inside the office where not a soul was present.
“I would say thanks for 2-and-a-half years of employment and just let me have my stuff back,” Lee Steel, a former employee, said on Monday.
Thomas Wydra, of the Connecticut Department of Labor, said employees are encouraged to file a claim with Wage and Workplace Standards.
“They owe people a final paycheck. They owe all of their employees all the money that is due to them for the hours that they worked. They owe them for any vacation time or other paid leave that may be owed to them,” said Wydra, director of Wage and Workplace Standards at the Dept. of Labor.
That can be done in person or online at the Connecticut Dept. of Labor’s website, where they can file for recovery of wages.
Wydra said they are also owed their personnel files which could be needed when they apply for another job.
“Employers are required to maintain personnel files. They are required to maintain them at the employer site. So those personnel files for those employees who showed up to work and found no more work, are owed a copy of their personnel file. And that’s another law that we enforce here at the Department of Labor so that’s another claim that they should file with us,” Wydra said.
Ultimate Nutrition is based in Farmington and has a distribution center in New Britain.
It has been a well-known company in the nutritional supplement industry, selling protein powders and other body building supplements.
“The supplement industry is extremely competitive nowadays, with thousands of companies offering similar products it is very difficult for many of these companies to stay afloat when they are competing with the likes of Amazon and Whole Foods,” said James Benefico, a Stamford native and founder of Organic Muscle, who weighed in on how the industry has changed since Ultimate Nutrition opened in 1978.
It is unknown if growing competition is what is behind this sudden closure, but it certainly remains a possibility.
In the meantime. for the employees left in the lurch, it is not only the loss of jobs that hurts, but the loss of relationships.
The Dept. of Labor also said they have counseling and job seeking services available to employees, and they say, if employees have personal property inside the building they can’t get back, they should contact local police.