NY hospital to stop levying big fines on Filipino nurses who leave their jobs
An Albany, New York hospital agreed to stop imposing big fines on nurses recruited from the Philippines and other countries if they leave their jobs within three years. It also agreed to return $90,000 to seven nurses it formerly employed.
State Attorney General Letitia James announced the legal agreement with Albany Medical Center Thursday. The center will stop asking for “repayment” fees of up to $20,000 from nurses if they leave their jobs or are fired before the end of their three-year contract.
Court documents say nurses who did not comply faced legal action or being reported to immigration enforcers. The attorney general declared that this contract provision violated the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Attorney General James said in a press statement: “By forcing its employees to choose between paying outrageous sums to leave their jobs, or facing immigration authorities, Albany Med violated their rights as workers and as individuals.”
A New York State Nurses Association lawsuit against Albany Medical Center led to the agreement.
While agreeing to end the contract provision and repaying seven nurses $90,000, Albany Medical Center operators did not agree “with the Attorney General’s characterization of the facts in this case, and we do not believe that Albany Med did anything wrong.”
In a similar case, a New York federal judge on June 1 ordered nursing agency and recruiter Sentosa to pay $1.56 million, for threatening the Filipino nurses they brought to the U.S. with large fines if they prematurely left their jobs.