Four caregivers have settled a nearly 3-year-old class action race discrimination lawsuit against a now-shuttered New Jersey nursing home plagued by a host of problems, including COVID-19 outbreaks and loss of residents to other care providers.
The lawsuit filed by four non-Filipino nurses claimed Violetta Arcilla, then-director of the county-owned Bergen County Health Care Center, unfairly favored Filipino nurses, according to a New Jersey federal court filing cited by Bloomberg News.
Arcilla, a Filipina, also was accused of forcing out non-Filipino nurses, docking pay, wielding discipline unfairly, and offering Filipino nurses better schedules at the 100-bed home, according to earlier published reports.
The Philippines is a favorite recruiting location for skilled nursing facilities, with many seeking to bring additional workers from the Southeast island to the US during the ongoing labor crisis.
In the Bergen case, Carmen Masille, Maureen Beach, Rita Blaser, and Barbara Masten filed the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and similarly situated non-Fillipino nurses who worked at the facility at any time between 2015 and 2018. The settlement terms were not disclosed.
County spokesman Derek Sands on Wednesday referred questions from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News to county attorneys and otherwise declined to comment until the settlement is “fully executed.”
Bergen County Health Care Center permanently closed at the end of 2021, when most residents and staff were transferred to the County Health Department or Bergen New Bridge Medical Center.
Legal challenges aside, the case sheds some light on troubling issues many nursing homes are now starting to confront.
The Hackensack-based facility cited a plethora of reasons for its closure, including declining census, inadequate reimbursement, fixed overhead costs, a shift toward home or community-based care and outdated infrastructure, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, Sands said at the time.