Healthcare staffing agencies have been in the news recently for contracting with their traveling nurses at one pay rate but delivering on a much lower one. Traveling nurses often sign at-will employment contracts. Those types of contracts are not guaranteed and can be terminated by either party at any time and for any non-discriminatory reason. These contracts also proclaim pay rates that, once the nurse arrives at the contracted location, pays less.
Some of the lawsuits allege that these practices are fraudulent. The staffing agencies claim the decrease in wages is due to the facilities where the nurses are employed have reduced their pay for all travelling nurses. Traveling nurses claim they are employed by the staffing agencies and not the facility. In one such claim against the staffing agencies, Aya, Maxim Healthcare, NuWest Group and Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. , the nurses claim that nearly 450 nurses reported pay cuts averaging from 25% to 70%.
Mandatory arbitration clauses were included in many of the traveling nurses’ contracts. These types of clauses make meeting thresholds for filing lawsuits more difficult. Plaintiffs will need to show the court how and why their employment contracts’ arbitration clauses were fraudulent. Establishing that the arbitration clause should not be enforced is generally very challenging.
This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.