Plans to File Counterclaims Against Belron US, Attorney Reports
Former Belron US employee Michelle Levesque plans to file several counterclaims
against the company in the suit filed against her on Friday, according
to her attorney, Michael Boudett of Foley Hoag LLP. In the suit, Belron
US alleges that Levesque and an associate, Edward Lee, solicited Belron
US employees to leave the company and join a new venture. (CLICK
HERE for related story.)
"We are going to sue them back unless this is resolved somehow,"
Boudett told glassBYTEs.com/AGRR magazine.
Levesque denies the charges that she solicited current Belron employees
to join a new venture, and denies that she is involved in a new venture,
according to Boudett. He said when the acquisition of Diamond occurred
there was talk throughout the company of what might transpire, leading
to the claims alleged in the case.
"There was discussion such as, 'what would happen if I am laid off
from Belron, what will I do?'" Boudett said. "There were two
women that did have discussions with [Levesque] about what they might
do if they left. They talked with her about whether they might have non-compete
restrictions or not and they talked about whether they might have options
if they were laid off."
However, Boudett said Levesque encouraged her co-workers to remain with
Belron US through the acquisition.
"She had many, many conversations in which she was encouraging people
to wait and see how things played out with Belron," he said.
According to Boudett, Levesque had no plans to leave the company, until
her employment was terminated on July 30 "with no warning whatsoever."
"They [told] her she'd been soliciting, and she [told] them she ha[d]
no idea what [they were] talking about," Boudett said.
"The next day they [wrote] a cease-and-desist letter saying she [was]
violating a non-compete agreement," he added. "This is falseshe
has no non-compete agreement; anyone could look in her personnel file
and find that it had been superseded. And, they [told] her [they were]
going to sue her." (Boudette notes that Levesque did sign a non-compete
agreement with Diamond at one time, but that it was superseded when she
was hired for a new position in 2005.)
Boudett said his client had no plans to participate in a joint venture,
and, while she is an associate of Edward Lee, against whom Belron US has
filed a similar complaint, "they have no joint venture and they have
never had a venture together."
He also noted that of those named as objects of the alleged solicitation
in the complaint, all of them are still with Belron US.
"Even if she had solicited, which
she [has] not, none of them
have left," he said.
Likewise, Boudett notes that the complaint was filed in an effort to prevent
her from soliciting or attempting to solicit current employees of Belron
"They have no basis to stop her," he said. "She's gone
now and they have no contract with her. She's free to call up and solicit
whomever she wants."
However, he notes, at this point she has made no plans to join any other
ventures or businesses and currently is filing for unemployment.
Among the counterclaims Boudett and Levesque files to claim is a charge
of defamation for the attention this suit has brought to Levesque.
They issued a company-wide memo saying she solicited and
violated the company's trust," he said. "She has gotten phone
calls about that communication, about [the news coverage], and she's gotten
calls from people in the glass industry, but not at Belron or Diamond
about this, and she feels that Belron is basically making her unhirable
and ruining her career."
Boudett said Levesque also plans to file counterclaims regarding violation
of the Family Medical Leave Act, for violation of the Massachusetts wages
statute and for "reckless pursuit of false claims against her."
According to Boudett, Levesque had surgery in May and was on medical leave
when Belron US acquired the assets of Diamond Glass in late June. While
still on medical leave, Levesque alleges Belron officials called her and
asked her to attend a meeting in Billerica, Mass., and also asked her
to do a branch visit in New Bedford, Mass., which was cancelled last-minute
(after Levesque had arrived and waited half an hour, Boudett said).
"We're going to file a counterclaim for violation of the Family Medical
Leave Act, for the violation of the Massachusetts wages statute,"
he said. "We're going to counterclaim for reckless pursuit of false
claims against her. In Massachusetts, that's considered an unfair business
practice. We fully intend to bring claims back against Belron if this
is not resolved."
Levesque was still on medical leave on July 30, Boudett said, when her
employment was terminated.
At press time, Lee still had not been able to be reached for comment.
glassBYTEs.com/AGRR magazine called the only known number
for Lee and was advised it was a wrong number, and no attorney has yet
filed as representing Lee in the case.
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