Five Filipino immigrant nurses have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against their employer CommuniCare Family of Companies in Cincinnati, Ohio.
According to a press release, the nurses are being represented by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Murphy Anderson PLLC (Murphy Anderson), and Herzfeld, Suetholz, Gastel, Leniski & Wall PLLC (HSGLaW).
The nurses are challenging the training repayment agreement provisions (TRAPs) in their contracts. Under TRAPs, employers agree to cover the cost of employees receiving job-related training. However, if an employee leaves before a certain time, they will have to pay the business a fee to cover the cost of training.
TRAPs are often viewed by many labor rights activists as a way to trap employees into staying despite long hours or poor conditions.
“I came to the U.S. to fulfill my American dreams, but my expectations are far from the reality that I experienced working with CommuniCare. I was put in extremely difficult working conditions dealing with 20 to 25 patients at the same time, and I constantly prayed that I would survive my shift without making any mistakes,” Jhane Engnan, a 34-year-old nurse from the Philippines, said in a press release.
Jeddalyn Ramos, a 30-year-old immigrant from the Philippines, says she is being sued despite paying CommuniCare back after leaving.
“I’m heartbroken and mentally crushed after being forced to leave because of this horrible situation,” Ramos said. “Honoring the agreement that I had signed with CommuniCare, I paid the breach of contract fee and was unfairly sued. The emotional damage that has been caused up until now is unbearable. Not even in my worst nightmares would I have imagined to be attacked like this.”
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