ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Attorney General Letitia James reached an agreement with Albany Med for charging a repayment fee to seven nurses. Albany Med will have to return $90,229 to all seven nurses who were recruited from foreign nations.
All seven nurses were forced to pay $20,000 if they resigned or were fired within three years of employment. Albany Med will be forced to remove all payback provisions from their employment contracts and notify all current and former nurses that the provision has been removed.
“As we’ve seen with the COVID-19 crisis, nurses are the backbone of our health care system and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity,” said Attorney General James. “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. My office is committed to fighting for all health care workers and will continue to hold employers accountable for their exploitive and unlawful actions.”
As well as paying $90,229 in restitution, Albany Med will also be doing the following for their workers:
- Removing the repayment provision from all current and future employment contracts;
- Notifying all current and former nurses who have been a party to this agreement within the past six years that this clause has been removed and will not be enforced;
- Submitting a sworn affidavit to the OAG attesting that it has not collected the repayment fees from any nurse through any means, other than the seven nurses it has already admitted to; and
- Reporting requested documents and information to the OAG, including:
- Copies of the draft notices which will be sent to all current and former nurses;
- Lists of all current and formerly employed nurses who have received the notice as well as their signed acknowledgments;
- Any responses or complaints received by current or former nurses in response to the notice of removal; and
- Written confirmation within one year that the unlawful repayment provision has not be reintroduced to any employment contracts.
Albany Med responded to the agreement with the following statement:
“We do 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. However, is was not worth our time, effort or expense to fight these politically motivated allegations, and the settlement agreement we entered into specifically states that we did not admit to any violation of the law. We value all of our nurses and are proud of our efforts to recruit and support nurses from the Philippines who are eager to train and provide care as part of our Albany Med team.”