If your story is true it sounds to me like the company was using ACA just as a scapegoat to strip benefits.
This is basically what is happening at the company I work for (in the top 20 of the Fortune 500). Everyone that is full time is being forced onto an HSA insurance and off of the traditional copay type of insurance all because the ACA is "forcing" them to. Everyone that is part time has to work under 30 hours a week. We have to hire new employees at around 9 dollars an hour with the promise of 15-20 hours a week and no benefits all so they can save a few bucks by not paying for health insurance. I'm sure you can imagine all the great applicants we've gotten with that offer