The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has sued Advanced Care Staffing (ACS), a New York staffing agency that, among other activities, recruits registered nurses from the Philippines to work in U.S. nursing homes, charging the company and its CEO with imposing employment contracts whose provisions flagrantly violate federal labor law. The contracts require employees “to complete at least three years of full-time employment to keep their earned wages.” If the nurses leave their jobs sooner, due to poor working conditions or otherwise, the contracts force them to repay back wages that they earned as well as arbitrator’s fees and ACS attorneys’ fees. Julie A. Su v. Advanced Care Staffing, LLC, Civil Action No. 23-cv-2119 (E.D.N.Y., filed Mar. 20, 2023). “Department of Labor Seeks Court Order to Stop Brooklyn Staffing Agency from Demanding Employees Stay 3 Years or Repay Wages” (News Release, Mar. 20, 2023). Nearly 20 years ago, another New York nurse staffing agency, SentosaCare, engaged in similar illegal practices when it recruited Filipino nurses to work at its affiliated nursing facilities, then sued them (and had them criminally prosecuted) when they left because of poor working conditions and broken promises.
DOL’s Complaint alleges that Advanced Care Staffing’s contracts with employees, which include requirements for arbitration, flagrantly violate federal labor law. The Complaint describes the case of a former ACS nurse, Benzor Shem Vidal, who left employment because of unsafe working conditions and “unmanageable patient loads of more than forty patients at a time.” Vidal sued Advanced Care Staffing and was granted a preliminary injunction that paused the arbitration while the court considered the enforceability of the arbitration provision. Vidal v. Advanced Care Staffing, LLC, No. 22-cv-5535-NRM-MMH (E.D.N.Y., filed Sep. 16, 2022), cited in the DOL complaint.
December 7, 2023 – T. Edelman