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Nurse Accuses Staffing Company of Illegal Contract

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A lawsuit filed by an immigrant nurse claims a New York staffing company coerces foreign employees to work under unsafe conditions

New York, NYA Filipino nurse has filed a complaint against his employer, Advanced Care Staffing LLC, which recruits foreign nurses for U.S. health care facilities. In his employment lawsuit filed in New York federal court, Benzor Shem Vidal claims that the staffing company forced him to sign an illegal, "predatory" arbitration agreement that threatened to financially ruin him after he quit working at a nursing home.

Bloomberg reported that Vidal’s lawsuit says Advanced Care Staffing "characterized his termination as a 'breach of contract,' and — after sending him a letter threatening legal action in which it would seek to recover tens of thousands of dollars and all of its attorney's fees and arbitration costs if he did not return to his employment — Advanced Care Staffing filed a demand for arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, pursuing its purported damages, its attorney's fees and the costs of arbitration."

Employment Contract

According to Law360, Vidal said that Advanced Care included the arbitration clause in his employment contract to "terrify" him into staying at a "grueling," "unsafe" and understaffed nursing home where he was responsible for more than 40 patients at a time.

Vidal entered the U.S. earlier this year on a visa sponsored by Advanced Care Staffing and signed a three-year employment contract in February 2022, but he quit in June 2022 after Advanced Care placed him at a nursing home with "unmanageable" caseloads. Vidal said that he couldn't physically get to patients fast enough to administer their medications or protect them from falling, and feared he would lose his nursing license if he stayed.

According to the complaint, Vidal entered into a the contract that promises foreign nurses could achieve the "American Dream." That contract included a provision stating that Vidal would owe Advanced Care its "lost profits," the costs of sponsoring his visa and any associated legal costs of enforcing those rights, should he end the contract early. 

"At the time Mr. Vidal signed the 2022 Contract, he believed he would not be able to come to the United States if he did not sign because Advanced Care Staffing presented the contract as a condition of sponsoring his visa application," the complaint said. "Mr. Vidal had also already given notice to his [former] employer and arranged his travel to the United States."

Just weeks after Vidal quit, Advanced Care initiated an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association to recuperate its "lost profits," citing an arbitration provision included in Vidal's work contract. Vidal has asked the court to invalidate the clause because it included a "loser pays" provision that threatened to bury him in tens of thousands of dollars of Advanced Care's legal fees and that allegedly conflicted with federal and state minimum wage laws. The threat of incurring those fees was also designed to coerce him into staying with Advanced Care, in violation of federal and state trafficking laws, states court documents.

The case is Vidal v. Advanced Care Staffing, case number 1:22-cv-05535, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Similar Lawsuits and Settlements

Bloomberg in June 2021 reported that a New York hospital agreed to stop imposing big fines on nurses recruited from the Philippines and other countries if they leave their jobs within three years. It also agreed to return $90,000 to seven nurses it formerly employed. The New York State Nurses Association lawsuit against Albany Medical Center led to the agreement.

The Center will stop asking for “repayment” fees of up to $20,000 from nurses if they leave their jobs or are fired before the end of their three-year contract. According to court documents, nurses who refused to comply faced legal action or being reported to immigration enforcers. The attorney general declared that this contract provision violated the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

In another case, a New York federal judge (also in June) ordered nursing agency and recruiter Sentosa to pay $1.56 million for threatening the Filipino nurses they brought to the U.S. with large fines if they prematurely left their jobs.


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