Judge waives injunction preventing ThedaCare employees from moving to Ascension

A Wisconsin judge lifted an order that prevented seven ThedaCare employees from leaving to join Ascension Northeast Wisconsin, both Appleton-based, until ThedaCare could find enough replacements, The New York Times reported Jan. 24.

ThedaCare sued Ascension last week in an effort to temporarily keep the interventional radiology and cardiovascular workers during a workforce shortage and COVID-19 surge, citing that their departure could cause patient harm. The judge initially granted its request last week, the Appleton Post-Crescent reported Jan. 21.

"The issue has always been about protecting our community's access to the highest level of trauma and stroke care provided in the Fox Valley region at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah," Lynn Detterman, president of ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah and senior vice president of the ThedaCare South Region, said in a statement shared with Becker's.

"We know this situation has put the team members who decided to leave ThedaCare in the middle of a difficult situation. Our goal was always to create a short-term orderly transition, not to force team members to continue working at ThedaCare."

Timothy Breister, an employee in the lawsuit, said Ascension did not recruit them, but one employee applied for a job and received an offer with better pay and work/life balance, according to the Times. The other employees then followed.

Ascension said the employees were not bound by a contract to stay with ThedaCare for a certain amount of time, and ThedaCare was given the opportunity to match Ascension's offer, according to the Times. Mr. Breister said they were told by ThedaCare that "by matching the offers, the long-term expense to ThedaCare was not worth the short-term cost and that no counter offer would be made."

"We are pleased with the court's decision to dismiss the temporary restraining order preventing seven individuals from beginning employment with Ascension Wisconsin," an Ascension spokesperson said in a statement, according to WBAY. "We welcome our newest associates."

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