October 28, 2022
A number of healthcare staffing corporations have been sued over claims of reducing journey nurse pay midassignment or simply earlier than starting work. The lawsuits search class motion standing; nevertheless, staffing corporations are preventing again in courtroom. In a single case, motions had been filed on Oct. 27 to stop plaintiffs attorneys from contacting extra nurses.
The lawsuits declare the staffing corporations used “bait-and-switch” techniques to lure nurses then presenting them with a “take-it-or-leave-it” demand to simply accept much less pay, arguing nurses in lots of instances carried on with their assignments as a result of they couldn’t afford to not. Main the lawsuits towards the staffing corporations is Kansas Metropolis-based legislation agency Stueve Siegel Hanson. It had beforehand introduced an investigation into journey nurse pay practices on March 13 of this 12 months.
Within the announcement, Stueve Siegel Hanson lawyer Austin Moore mentioned staffing corporations are breaching their contracts. The announcement acknowledged “contracts’ nice print can fluctuate, however that when a staffing company cancels a contract on the final minute or provides a nurse one or two days to contemplate a decrease price, the company is commonly breaching a contract — businesses ought to shoulder the loss when hospitals request decrease charges, not the nurses.”
Proper now, the lawsuits are ongoing. There have been filed in July and August.
George Reardon, an lawyer with a few years of involvement and management within the staffing business, mentioned it isn’t doable to opine on the advantage of those lawsuits; nevertheless, staffing corporations can take steps to protect themselves from such fits.
“Momentary employment presumes employment at will and customer-determined project lengths, however these ideas will be compromised by the language used to recruit and onboard journey nurses,” Reardon mentioned.
“Contract legislation and lots of state statutes ban understanding misrepresentation of jobs, and these lawsuits show the necessity for staffing corporations to be extraordinarily cautious in regards to the wording of representations and contracts with prospects and assigned employees,” he mentioned. “Staffing corporations ought to disclose uncertainties about project lengths and charges and will disclaim candidates’ unsustainable expectations and financial reliance on perceived guarantees. Altering circumstances don’t represent ‘bait and change,’ however they need to be anticipated and defined to keep away from worker misunderstanding. Staffing corporations must also think about having prospects share the dangers of adjusting circumstances.”
The pay cuts come as Covid funds dry up, Kaiser Well being Information reported.
Companies going through these lawsuits embody Aya Healthcare, Cross Nation Healthcare Inc., Maxim Healthcare Companies and NuWest.
Cross Nation and Maxim Healthcare mentioned they aren’t commenting on pending litigation.
“Maxim has partnered with healthcare suppliers for greater than three a long time and has a well-established observe report of supporting and connecting healthcare professionals to work that issues,” Maxim mentioned in an announcement.
In latest courtroom filings, a number of staffing corporations have cited contract wording that requires particular person arbitration in responses and requested that the instances be dismissed.
The fits describe comparable circumstances amongst nurses.
In a single go well with, a nurse from Oklahoma traveled to a hospital in Chico, California, for an project. The contract supplied base pay of $125 per hour with a minimal of 60 hours per week. Eight days into the project, the lawsuit says the nurse was knowledgeable that base pay was being lowered to $102.
In one other instance, a nurse from New Mexico accepted an project in Omaha, Nebraska, for an hourly pay price of $108.50 with a minimal of 48 scheduled hours, in response to courtroom paperwork. Nevertheless, the corporate allegedly lowered the pay six days earlier than the project started to $82.50 per hour and lowered assured weekly hours to 36.
Within the latter instance, the distinction between the worth of the unique settlement and the worth of the unilateral pay discount was greater than $25,000, in response to the lawsuit.
One lawsuit additionally cited an occasion the place a nurse questioned a hospital consultant who mentioned the hospital by no means decreased the invoice price.
One other difficulty introduced up was time beyond regulation pay with lawsuits saying the time beyond regulation pay price calculation ought to have additionally accounted for stipends for things like day by day meals, incidentals and housing.
In motions to dismiss the lawsuits, a number of of the corporations cited their contracts signed by nurses agreeing to particular person arbitration as an alternative of sophistication actions, in response to courtroom paperwork. One response filed by a staffing agency additionally famous the “at will” nature of the employment permits for agreements to be modified.
In a movement to dismiss, NuWest argued the named plaintiffs lacked standing to sue outdoors of California and Montana, the place they labored. It additionally argued one named plaintiff hadn’t but exhausted administrative cures in California, as required for Personal Lawyer Basic Act allegations in that state.
“Of their Seventh Reason for Motion, plaintiffs allege that NuWest violated 44 separate states’ wage-and-hour statutes,” in response to a courtroom submitting. “Likewise, plaintiffs’ Eleventh Reason for Motion alleges that NuWest violated 30 separate states’ time beyond regulation statutes. Nevertheless, the grievance alleges the named plaintiffs solely labored for NuWest in California and Montana.”
Case numbers for the lawsuits are 3:22-cv-1151; 2:22-cv-01117; 9:22-cv-81137; and 1:22-cv-01782.