Florida hospital settles with laid-off employees 2 years after closure

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The Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based psychiatric hospital that closed and laid off workers in 2019, has settled a lawsuit brought by former employees, The Palm Beach Post reported Oct. 11.  

The settlement resolves allegations that the nonprofit hospital violated a federal labor law.

Under the settlement, approved in September, the hospital will pay $400,000 distributed among more than 300 employees who were laid off when the facility closed, as well as their attorneys, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Ryan Barack, the attorney who represented the employees, told the newspaper that the settlement "was the maximum possible amount the former employees could recover given the center's financial position." Payments made to former employees will be based on average pay during a 10-week period before the closure, according to Mr. Barack. More than $252,000 will be distributed among the employees after the attorney payouts.

Two former employees of the Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health filed the lawsuit in October 2019, alleging that the hospital violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers to give workers a 60-days notice before mass layoffs.

The Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health, which served low-income and uninsured patients, filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2019, and patients were transferred to other organizations.

Officials filed to dismiss the bankruptcy shortly after filing, citing a for-profit buyer for the hospital, but the hospital closed in October 2019 after the deal failed to come to fruition.

The lawsuit's settlement documents said the hospital did not think the lawsuit's claims were valid, and both parties agreed to settle because of "economic efficiency," according to The Palm Beach Post.

Read the full report here

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