This Job Sucks: Vacuum Case Class Action Granted

Thomas MacMillan File PhotosNearly a year after Ruth Dixon and seven others took a vacuum distributor to court, the case is opening up to potentially hundreds of other people who might have been swindled out of wages.

Dixon (pictured) and her co-plaintiffs claim that SZ Enterprises, an Orange-based distributor of Kirby vacuum cleaners, promised them $500 a week for selling vacuums but didn’t pay them a dime. With the help of New Haven legal aid lawyer James Bhandary-Alexander, the group filed suit against SZ and the Kirby Company.

One week ago, federal Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that the case should be opened up to other plaintiffs with complaints similar to Dixon’s. The decision opens the door for a class-action lawsuit, one that could be joined initially by hundreds of New Haveners, Bhandary-Alexander said.

It also opens the door for an even larger suit, a potentially nation-wide class-action claim.

Sometime this week, notices will be sent out to the last known addresses of over 1,800 people who’ve worked at SZ as vacuum salespeople or as telemarketers, Bhandary-Alexander said. The notices will alert them to the possibility of joining the lawsuit.

Bhandary-Alexander predicted it will be difficult to track down all former employees, most of whom are from New Haven. The records show that many of the low-wage workers were living in transitional housing, he said. Those who choose to opt-in to the lawsuit will become legal aid clients, unless they choose to hire their own counsel. Assisting legal aid with the case is New York law firm Outten and Golden.

The plaintiffs seek back pay equivalent to the hours they put in multiplied by the federal minimum wage, plus attorney’s fees.

Bhandary-Alexander has recently started a walk-in labor rights law clinic, for workers who think their bosses might be taking advantage of them.

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 28, 2012  12:56pm

This is the next company to fall.So if any of you are in this,You better get out now.

posted by: robn on March 28, 2012  9:55pm


My delightful little fraction. I thought that you were caffeine free?

posted by: Walt on March 29, 2012  11:11am

Having had a similar deal with Hoover Vacuum many years ago, I empathize,  but it was legal then to offer commission- only jobs where you can work your keister off,  but make no money

May still be legal   (?)

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 29, 2012  1:31pm

posted by: robn on March 28, 2012 9:55pm


My delightful little fraction. I thought that you were caffeine free?

I am.Was just point out how a lot of scamsaare going around.

posted by: Brutus2011 on March 29, 2012  11:35pm

Threefifths is a delightful proper fraction!