Wawa Sued Again by Ex-Employees Over Forced Stock Sell-Off

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By Carmen Castro-Pagan

Wawa Inc. was hit with a second lawsuit by former employees challenging certain amendments to its retirement plan that allegedly forced them to sell their company stock at an unfair price.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 8 in federal court in Pennsylvania, comes eight months after the convenience store chain agreed to pay $25 million to settle similar allegations. The settlement, which hasn’t received final approval by the court, would provide relief for 2,300 current and former Wawa employees.

The new lawsuit filed by four former employees also seeks class treatment and would cover those workers not included in the class under the previous lawsuit. The workers allege they have been divested of their right to continue to hold Wawa stock in their retirement accounts, causing them to lose out on the continued appreciation in value of the company stock.

Wawa doesn’t comment on pending litigation, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg Law Aug. 8.

At issue in both lawsuits are certain amendments to Wawa’s employee stock ownership plan adopted in 2014 and 2015. Before the amendments, employees had the right to remain participants in the plan and continue to hold company stock after they were terminated or retired, the workers alleged. The amendments removed former employees from the plan and later required the plan’s trustee to liquidate the stock accounts of participants who terminated their employment after January 2015.

Cohen Milstein Selles & Toll PLLC, Block & Leviton LLP, Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP, and Donahoo & Associates PC represent the workers.

The case is Cunningham v. Wawa, Inc., E.D. Pa., No. 2:18-cv-03355-PD, complaint filed 8/8/18.

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