Yet another healthcare staffing agency, in this case, Aya Healthcare Inc., is facing a class action lawsuit that alleges the company regularly cut pay rates in the middle of a contract. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of their employees have been subjected to pay reductions mid-contract. Some travel nurses have even experienced multiple pay reductions during the course of a single contract.
The 37-page lawsuit makes the claim that not only did the company participate in bait-and-switch tactics but that this technique was an intentional part of their business model. The company purposely offered excellent pay rates to attract qualified candidates, knowing full well that they would never fulfill those rates for the duration of the contract. At the same time, they were marketing themselves as a low-cost staffing agency to healthcare providers and earning exclusive contracts.
Once travel nurses have relocated to their new assignment, secured housing, and started their contract, they are left with little choice but to continue to work once Aya Healthcare gives them a “take-it-or-leave-it” pay cut ultimatum. Unfortunately, since Aya practically has a monopoly over staffing in some areas, nurses who refuse to continue contracts under new terms are blacklisted and unable to find new employment.
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Furthermore, the suit claims that Aya failed to pay nurses the correct overtime rate. The company subtracted charge, on-call, call-back, and holiday pay as well as stipends for housing and meals from overtime calculations. Aya has classified these as deductions as “expense reimbursement” when they are actually earned compensation and not expenses incurred by the company.
Ultimately, these practices are both an illegal breach of contract and a violation of state and federal labor laws.
The lawsuit was filed by three travel nurses who signed contracts that included an hourly rate, overtime pay rate, holiday and call-back pay rates, a minimum of scheduled hours and stipends to cover meals, housing, and incidentals. According to one of the plaintiffs, she was only seven weeks into her assignment when the company said she would have to take a 50% cut across many of the already negotiated pay agreements if she wanted to complete the assignment.
Of course, as a travel nurse, she had already invested considerable time and money relocating and immediately finding new employment was a daunting task. She felt she had no choice but to accept the new terms and complete her contract for a final amount of $5,000 less than she had originally signed on for.
The other plaintiffs have outlined similar experiences. One nurse actually refused to sign the revised contracts and was subjected to two pay cuts during her three-month contract. Ultimately, her pay rate was cut by over 60% and resulted in a loss of more than $10,000.
The third travel nurse was “forced to return home” after her contract was slashed by more than a total of $15,000 over the course of the contract.
Since this is a class action suit, the plaintiffs are looking to represent other travel nurses who signed contracts with Aya Healthcare only to have those contracts reduced during the assignment. Anyone who partnered with Aya and worked at a provider in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, or Wisconsin, or experienced labor law violations in the form of working over 40 hours a week and miscalculated pay rates is eligible to join the suit.
This applies to anyone who is currently employed by Aya or has been employed during the past three years. If you fit these criteria, you should consider joining the suit.