A judge has given nurses from the Philippines the go-ahead to move forward with a class-action lawsuit, which alleges they were forced to continue working at nursing homes or face a $25,000 “contract termination fee.”
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday certified the complaint, and a notice is now being sent to more than 200 Filipino nurses who were previously recruited by Sentosa Nursing Recruitment Agency and a related entity, Prompt Nursing Employment Agency LLC, Bloomberg Law reported.
The suit alleges that nurses started work at two New York-based nursing homes — Golden Gate Rehabilitation Center in Staten Island and Spring Creek in Brooklyn — in 2008. One of the nurses, Rose Ann Paguirigan, sued the companies in March 2017, alleging they abused the legal system and violated the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act by forcing nurses to pay a $25,000 fee if they left their positions before the end of a three-year term.
Paguirigan signed one of those contracts in 2015 to work for Golden Gate, but her contract was later transferred to Spring Creek, in Brooklyn, and she quit her job in March 2016 after the homes allegedly failed to pay her wages. She’s accused the operators of frequently re-assigning contracts to avoid paying promised wages.
Notices sent to nurses specify that the defendants have denied all allegations, and the court hasn’t yet determined which party is correct.