A lawsuit on behalf of more than 300 hospital workers suddenly fired in July was filed Friday in Tucson United States District Court.
Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital promised employees extensive health insurance and compensation when it announced mass layoffs in June, but those promises were not kept when the now-shuttered hospital laid off most of its employees. its employees in July.
“I hope to help my former colleagues get what was stolen from them and show the community that no one, not even a company hospital, is above the law,” said Stephanie Garrett, a nurse. authority that sued the class action. on his own behalf and on behalf of his colleagues.
The lawsuit, which names Garrett and “everyone else in the same situation,” is being sued by a New York-based law firm, Raisner Roupinian LLP, which specializes in defending “victims of layoffs and closures”. Locally, attorney Kasey C. Nye of Tucson’s Cascade, Economidis, Caldwell, Hanshaw and Villamana help with the case.
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The attorneys are asking the court to order payment “equal to the sum of: their unpaid wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, accrued vacation pay, accrued vacation pay, and 401(k) contributions and other COBRA benefits, for 60 days . “
About 300 health care providers and other employees, including about 200 full-time, worked for the Green Valley hospital alone when it closed on June 30.
“After announcing the June 30 surprise closure on June 24, the defendant sent a letter to employees on June 28 reassuring them ‘we will continue to pay employees until (sic) August 20,'” reads the statement. legal complaint.
“The June 28 letter also told full-time employees to report to work as scheduled because ‘we have a lot of work ahead of us and will need all the help we can get’.”
The company’s former CEO, Stephen Harris, said in an earlier interview that workers would receive pay and health insurance until August 20.
Harris declined to comment on the lawsuit. Richard de Silva of Lateral Investment Management did not respond to interview requests. Lateral Investment is the operator of the facility, but it is owned by a Rochester, New York company called Broadstone Net Lease, Inc.
The initial 60-day notice to employees was given under the protection of the WARN Act, which is administered by the United States Department of Labor and means Worker Adaptation and Retraining Act.
But on July 21, the employees received a letter of dismissal in which they were told: “You will no longer be entitled to any other compensation, money or other benefit from the SCVRH, including coverage under any plan or HRCS-sponsored benefits program, except as described below. »
The letter then details that the final paycheck, deposited no later than July 29, would include full pay.
However, several employees said that was not what happened. Instead, only partial pay was included and all employees on paid leave used to supplement their hours were removed from the paycheck.
They also said they still had insurance withdrawals made, even though their insurance was no longer in effect.
Since the pandemic began, Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital in Green Valley has been inundated with millions in government funds. It closed in June.
Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital’s only hope was to be acquired by TMC HealthCare of Tucson, but that plan fell through a few weeks ago.
Contact reporter Patty Machelor at 806-7754 or [email protected]