Former Lipsey Logistics employees ‘blindsided’ by layoffs at Chattanooga office

Former Lipsey Logistics employees say they were blindsided on Wednesday, March 18, after they were called into a meeting and laid off without warning by company officials. 

Prior to the meeting, some told FreightWaves there were rumors that the meeting was about the possibility of the office closing and employees working remotely amid the coronavirus outbreak. However, they soon found out that wasn’t the case as approximately 30 workers were laid off.

“We were told the layoffs might be temporary, but most likely would be permanent,” a former Lipsey employee told FreightWaves. “Everyone was blindsided.”

Another former employee told FreightWaves that Lipsey officials said the reasons for the layoffs were the coronavirus as well as lagging financial results.

“I was told the company’s financial state was not where it needed to be to be able to retain all of the staff right now,” a former employee said. “However, business has been surging for us because some of our accounts haul emergency coronavirus supplies.”

Lipsey Logistics did not respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment regarding the layoffs.

“It didn’t seem like there was any rhyme or reason as to who got fired,” the former employee told FreightWaves. “I think it was like they closed their eyes and put their finger on a name and decided that’s who is going to be fired today.”

Scandal rocks Lipsey Logistics 

Joseph Lipsey III stepped down from his role as chief executive of Lipsey Logistics and Lipsey Trucking in March 2019, after he and his wife, Shira Lipsey, and their son, Joseph IV, were arrested for alleged distribution of cocaine to a minor and three counts of serving alcohol to a minor, along with other charges filed in Aspen, Colorado. Those charges against the Lipseys were later dismissed due to a lack of evidence in September 2019.

However, former employees say the company lost major accounts over the allegations against the Lipseys and the company “was never fully able to regain the trust of some customers.”

“We were able to bring some back around, but not all of our customers,” a former employee told FreightWaves. 

While Johnny Jones is serving as interim chief executive of Lipsey Logistics and Trucking, one of the former employees claims Joe Lipsey III is still “very much in charge” of the companies.

“All of the checks are still signed by him [Joe Lipsey],” the former employee, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, told FreightWaves. “They claimed to be a family company, but if this is how they treat family, there’s no way I want to go back and work for them again.”

As employees retrieved their belongings after being laid off, one former employee, who did not want to be named, told FreightWaves he won’t miss what he alleged to be a “hostile work environment” at Lipsey. 

“Over the years, I’ve had a few jobs in my life, but I developed friendships with a lot of people at Lipsey and I will miss them,” one former employee said. “I know this can be a stressful industry, but no one deserves to be screamed at, humiliated and embarrassed in front of a roomful of their co-workers for a late load or something that’s out of their control.”

If you have any additional information regarding the Lipsey layoffs or know of another possible layoff or closure, send an email here.

Read more articles by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes.