Former Wigwam CEO suing company

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Posted by of Insight Publications

The former CEO of Wigwam Mills Inc. is suing the Sheboygan manufacturer for failing to fill out the terms of his contract.

Thomas Wheeler, who was hired in September 2016, said he was fired without cause on April 13. In a complaint filed June 8, he says Wigwam did not provide sufficient notice for his termination and has not paid him the 12 months of salary as severance promised in his contract. Wheeler said his contract also stated he would be given a 30-day written notice of termination. The former CEO said he did not receive notice until the day he was let go.

According to the complaint, Wigwam failed to provide Wheeler with a reason for his firing: “Wigwam had not complained to Wheeler that he had committed any alleged misconduct or stated a factual basis for a termination with cause.”

Wheeler was replaced by the company’s fourth-generation owners, Margaret Newhard and Christopher Chesebro. Wigwam leaders declined comment on the lawsuit. The company’s attorney said once Wigwam receives the complaint, it will have about 40 days to file a response.

Last month, the sock-making company laid off 121 of its 142 workers because of “unforeseen adverse circumstances” due to COVID-19, Wigwam said in a letter to the Department of Workforce Development.