Albany Med to pay 7 former nurses restitution over 'repayment fee' provision

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Albany (N.Y.) Med Health System has agreed to pay $90,229 to seven former nurses to resolve allegations it illegally forced the nurses to pay fees after resignation or termination, according to a June 17 news release from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The agreement resolves allegations related to a "repayment fee" provision in employment contracts for the nurses.

Ms. James said the provision forced nurses, most of whom were from the Philippines, to pay up to $20,000 if they resigned or were terminated within three years of their first day of work. She also said nurses were threatened with legal action and the involvement of immigration authorities if they did not pay. Her office concluded that Albany Med was found to have violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act through the provision.

Under its agreement with the attorney general's office, Albany Med will pay $82,000 to the seven former nurses and $8,229 more in interest. Additionally, the health system agreed to remove the repayment provision from employment contracts, as well as submit written compliance reports to the attorney general's office.  

While Albany Med agreed to these terms, it did not admit wrongdoing.  

"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," the health system said in a statement shared with Becker's. "However, it 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."

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