Foreign Nurses Charged For Walking Off Job - page 16

Smithtown nurses charged with endangering kids after walk-out Ten nurses who abruptly resigned from their jobs last year at a Smithtown nursing center were charged Thursday -- along with an... Read More

  1. by   bagladyrn
    Karen - I tried to read this and got the screen saying I don't have access to this page - Huh?? Didn't know not being premium kept you from reading.
  2. by   pinoy_guy
    court upholds charges against filipino nurses

    9:14 pm edt, september 28, 2007

    a state supreme court judge friday denied a motion to dismiss charges against 10 filipino nurses accused of conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children after they resigned en masse at a smithtown nursing home.

    "the decision speaks for itself," said assistant district attorney leonard lato. "they quit under circumstances they knew could endanger the welfare of others and they just didn't care."

    supreme court justice robert doyle also denied a motion to dismiss charges of conspiracy and criminal solicitation against felix vinluan, the nurses' lawyer. the charges say he told the nurses to quit.

    doyle wrote in his response to vinluan's motion that "the action of these defendants, acting together with forethought and planning, was not a simple resignation."

    the next hearing is scheduled for oct. 29; lawyers said they anticipate a late january trial date.
  3. by   celtictides
    its interesting to read sentosa care recruiting and advertising for filipino nurses.

    i doubt they came through with what they offered them. you can read their advertisement and recruitment here:

    here is the scoop on what's going on here:

    [color=#00008b]nurses file class suit vs. recruiter, employers
    washington, d.c. --- twenty-seven new york-based filipino nurses and one physical therapist filed a class suit against the recruiter who brought them to the united states and their employers here for not paying them the stipulated salary, fraud and misrepresentation.

    the class suit was filed before the office of special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices of the department of justice in washington, d.c.

    named respondents to the suit were bent philipson, francis luyun, and 11 nursing homes of which philipson is the chief operating officer. luyun is the chief executive officer of sentosa recruitment agency, one of those cited in the suit.

    the complainants are represented by new york immigration lawyer felix vinluan.

    the nurses said they were recruited to work as immigrant workers, while the physical therapist said he was recruited to work as h-1b non-immigrant workers by sentosa recruitment agency.

    in their complaint, they said that philipson and the companies he represented promised the us citizenship and immigration services (uscis) to pay them the prevailing wage rates and other employment benefits.

    upon arriving in the united states, the complainant said they were not made to work for the employers who petitioned for them. instead they were made to work for the companies controlled by philipson.

    you can read the complete article here:
  4. by   pinoy_guy
    Quote from pinoy_guy
    court upholds charges against filipino nurses

    9:14 pm edt, september 28, 2007
    a better and more neutral article on the topic...from a philippine news agency.

    funny how us-based newday is giving a spin on the issue and a news agency from a third world country is doing a better job.

    ny judge lets criminal charges stand vs filipino nurses

    09/30/2007 | 01:42 am

    new york - a new york state judge has refused to throw out criminal charges against 10 nurses from the philippines who were arrested after they quit their jobs at a long island nursing home during a labor dispute.

    . . .

    no harm was done to patients, but suffolk county prosecutors accused the nurses of criminal conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children for leaving their jobs so abruptly. some of the home's residents included disabled children in a pediatric unit.

    . . .

    the judge, robert doyle, denied a motion to dismiss the case friday.

    . . .

    vinluan and the nurses could face up to six years in prison if convicted on the charges.
  5. by   pinoy_guy
    smithtown nursing home faces state review

    the state department of health is reviewing whether nurses quitting en masse from a smithtown nursing home jeopardized patient care and whether the home should have notified state health officials about the resignations, a spokesman said friday.

    however, avalon did not file a report with the health department, which is required under state law for suspected abuse, mistreatment and neglect.

    "we are looking at the entire incident," said health department spokesman jeffrey hammond. he said the department would review whether the resignations jeopardized quality of care. and he said the department is looking at whether the nursing home "should have reported this incident to us."

    hammond said that if the health department finds against avalon, the department could take an "enforcement action," which could include a fine and/or plan of correction.
  6. by   pinoy_guy
    since this case is an emotionally charged one, i thought it might be good to see what the actual findings of the court were.

    i'm not a lawyer, so i'll have to quote portions verbatim, as i don't want to misrepresent/misinterpret the court findings.

    the people of the state of new york against elmer jacinto, et al.

    defendants move for inspection of the minutes of the grand jury proceedings that resulted in this indictment and for dismissal of the charges against them. . . the court finds that each count of the indictment properly charges these defendants with a crime and that the counts are not void for "vagueness".

    defendants raise an argument which appears to claim that this prosecution of defendants somehow violates the thirteenth amendment to the united states constitution prohibiting slavery. defendants argue . . . "it has been illegal to convict a person of a crime based upon quitting his or her job."

    the court discerns no basis for the relief defendants seek. under no view of the facts of this case could it be said that the people were seeking to compel defendatns continued employment by any particular entity. [t]he grand jury found sufficient evidence with which to conclude that these defendants should be charged with specific crimes for the actions taken by them, en masse, at a time when they were entrusted with the care of certain physically disabled children. there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that this prosecution in any way violates the rights of any of these defendants under the thirteenth amendment to the united states constitution.

    with respect to defendants' application to dismiss the indictment in the interests of justice, that application is denied. the court . . . does not find that there exists a compelling factor, consideration or circumstance clearly demonstrating that conviction or prosecution of the defendants would constitute or result in injustice.
    with regard to defendants' request for suppresion of statements made by them to law enforcement personnel, a hearing . . . shall be held immediately prior to trial to determine the voluntariness of any statements within the meaning of cpl 60.45.
    i wonder what statements vinluan and the nurses gave to law enforcement personnel that they want to strike from the record.

    the people of the state of new york against felix vinluan

    defendant also moves . . . for dismissal of the charges against him. this aspect of defendant's motion is granted solely to the extent that the court has inspected the minutes of the grand jury proceedings and finds the evidence legally sufficient to support the charges contained in the indictment.

    in moving to dismiss the indictment . . . the defendant argues that his only goal and the only goal of the co-defendant nurses in taking the actions that they did, was to obtain alternative employment for the nurses and release from their three year commitment to their employer.
    straight from their mouths.

    [d]efendant argues that in order to establish a conspiracy, there must be "a corrupt agreement between two or more individuals to do an unlawful act, unlawful as a means or as an end."

    the grand jury had ample evidence before it from which it could conclude that defendants were well aware of the fact that their mass resignation from their critical roles as care givers to these disabled children, without sufficient advance notice or warning to their employer, would likely be injurious to the physical welfare of their patients. the grand jury concluded that there was sufficient evidence to establish the existence of an agreement to engage in conduct that would constitute the crimes of endangering the welfare of a child and endangering the welfare of a disabled person, and that there was an overt act in furtherance of that agreement. the fact that defendants may have had the further objective that their resignations would somehow enhance their bargaining positions in a labor dispute with their employer, does not absolve them from criminal liability for the consequences of their actions.

    while a nurse may, often times, have a right to unilaterally resign from his or her position of employment, the actions of these defendants, acting together with forethought and planning, was not a simple resignation from a nursing position.

    individuals have a right to take action in the exercise of the freedoms guaranteed by the constitutions and laws of our state and country. however, the freedom to exercise those rights is not absolute.

    [t]he actions of the defendants cannot be judged in a vacuum . . .
    resignation to enhance your bargaining position in a labor dispute with your employer?

    with regard to defendant's request for a hearing . . . to determinee the voluntariness of any statements made by defendant to law enforement personnel, that application is granted to the extent that a hearing shall be held prior to trial to determine whether statements given by defendant were voluntary within the meaning of cpl 60.45.
    again the move to strike their own statements from the record.
  7. by   fergus51
    They did that to us in BC, Canada a few years ago. The union had collected resignation letters (mine was among them). The government said that collective resignation was the same as a strike and so it was illegal. I resigned on my own shortly thereafter and still think that was the smartest decision I've ever made. An employer who has to rely on legal threats to keep their nurses on the job is not one I will ever work for.
  8. by   TrudyRN
    How interesting that a Prosecutor is not required to present exculpatory evidence to a Grand Jury.

    That is, for anyone who might be wondering because you don't watch enough Law & Order, , evidence that points to the innocence of the accused.

    It seems like a tremendous waste of time and public money to NOT tell the GJ ALL the info that is available to the Prosecutor. Makes me wonder about the honesty and true intentions of Prosecutors.

    And I do wonder if the children were actually harmed. I pray not but if they were not harmed, I don't really quite see the lawbreaking here. Were sufficient workers quickly found to safely care for them? Sorry if you discussed this already in this thread and I missed it.
  9. by   pinoy_guy
    Quote from fergus51
    an employer who has to rely on legal threats to keep their nurses on the job is not one i will ever work for.
    under no view of the facts of this case could it be said that the people were seeking to compel defendants continued employment by any particular entity.
    according to the court finding the nurses were not being compelled to continue their employment.

    under the terms of their contracts, though, they have to pay the agency $25,000 each if they breach them.
  10. by   leslymill
    I personally think their thirteenth amendment rights have been severly breached.
  11. by   lionrn
    Various of my employers over the years have waived the "patient abandonment" threat at employees for not wanting to work "mandatory overtime" or "mandatory callback."

    In some cases, replacement employees had not appeared.

    In some cases, staffing would have been up to normal if the administrative nurses took clinical roles until more appropriate staff was available.

    I've also worked where the administrative nurse simply takes assignment and proceeds until more appropriate staff is available.
    One ad. nurse would take more than a fair share to keep others' assignments within the norm, even if it meant she had to double up.
    Or she would offer to do so, and present the alternative to share evenly with any other staff who would volunteer to do so.
    That unit had the same issues of every other in the hospital, but it just didn't seem so bad, and we could deal pretty easily given our excellent leadership.
    Everyone got good evaluations because we supported each other, from the top down.

    When I was a student RN, one of my fellow nursing students was expelled for declining an instructor's extra-credit offer 10 minutes before the end of a clinical shift.
    She declared he couldn't refuse, even though it would most likely take him an hour or two beyond the scheduled end of shift/class (he had completed the rest of his tasks and charting).
    He said he had to go home to take care of his kids so his wife could go to work.
    He was polite, calm, to the point.
    The instructor told him he would be expelled if he refused, declined another student's offer to take the assignment.
    The student said he would gladly take the assignment another day (it was not time dependent).
    The instructor explained that that's how it is in nursing.

    It's a heck of an industry we're in!
  12. by   pinoy_guy
    the 'other face' of sentosa: pursuing a slice of american dream

    the dispute has made headlines both here and in manila. there have been suggestions of political interference, further clouding the issue. but lost in the din of the legal skirmishes and flurry of press releases is the story of the nurses who have opted to stay put with sentosa. and now, they say, they want to be heard too.

    "i am truly blessed," canasa enthused . . . she applied at sentosa recruitment almost on a whim. "sayang din yung opportunity (i could not let the opportunity pass)," she recounts amusedly . . .

    she's been with sentosa's hampton center facility for only nine months. canasa admits her relatives back home, reading about the adverse reports against sentosa worried about her - enough to alert other relatives in the us.

    "sabi ko nga sa family ko back home, ayos naman ako. maganda naman treatment nila sa akin (i told my family back home that i am alright. i'm treated well)," canasa averred.

    zaide belarde is the director of nursing at one sentosa facility, the new surfside nursing home in far rockaway, new york. she supervises scores of nurses assigned there, including 14 filipinos . . .

    belarde, who worked for five years at st. luke's hospital, insists filipino nurses are treated well, if not better, than other nationalities at sentosa facilities.

    she said she recruited her own sister who was working in saudi arabia to work with sentosa. "bakit ako magre-refer pa sa kanila ng ibang nurses kung hindi binibigay sa amin ang tama (why would i refer to them other nurses if they are not giving me the proper treatment)," belarde argued.

    belarde says one of her biggest concern is that the sentosa controversy might imperil 600 other nurses waiting in manila to complete their papers to work at sentosa's new york facilities.

    "i am one of the nurses who can say na kung anong benefits ang dapat ibigay sa amin, na-receive namin (the what benefits that are due us are being received by us)," she stressed. now belarde wants to share the boons of their profession with her fellow nurses back home. "i'm happy here. dinala nila tatlong anak ko, ang asawa ko, (they brought my three kids, my husband) and my mom keeps coming back and forth from the philippines."
    came across this news article on the other nurses working for this agency.

    additional information on this issue.
  13. by   pinoy_guy
    ny case bankrupts lawyer for sentosa 27
    10/17/2007 | 09:46 pm

    salvador tuy, merit salud, manny quintal, carlos garcia and felix vinluan are just some of the filipino lawyers who have been working pro bono for sentosa 27.
    heroes and heels.

    if they win the case, heroes if the 10 were really victims; and heels because if they win the case and successfully shut down the agency, that'll be the end of the road for hundreds of other filipino nurses in the philippines.

    if they lose the case and the findings were that the 10 just wanted to weasel their way out of their contracts (as they themselves stated in the indictments posted above)--then that'll be a negative mark on filipino lawyers.

    but since the new york supreme court judge robert doyle ruled that the criminal case against the 10 filipino nurses and their former lawyer felix vinluan will go to trial, the lawyers have become more vocal.
    basic question: if they claim to have 27 complainants, why were only 10 indicted?

    if they had a reasonable legal leg to stand on, there should be strength in numbers.

    vinluan of westbury new york is also charged with criminal solicitation and conspiracy for encouraging the nurses to resign.

    that was almost a year after sentosa 27 filed a discrimination complaint with the united states department of justice.

    it was back in march 2006 when two nurses sought vinluan's advice. around the same time, two other nurses went to the philippine consulate in new york. they wanted to know who could help them with what they claimed were sentosa's unfair treatment and breach of contract.
    the sentosa lawyers told some filipino journalists that vinluan was allegedly an immigration lawyer for a competing agency, juno.

    according to vinluan, the consulate asked him if he could help those nurses as well. the following week, the number of nurses who have similar complaints grew to 15. by april 6, 2006, there were 27.

    "there were actually many more who wanted to come forward," said vinluan. "but they either got intimidated or scared, or maybe they really just can't afford to loose their jobs."
    where did the 17 go?

    "the indictment against felix has a chilling effect on all lawyers," said tuy. "if you cannot advise your client freely without fear of prosecution then what's the use of giving legal advice."

    "even if your lawyer gives you a bad advice, that is not a criminal act. there is nothing illegal about that," tuy said.

    . . .

    according to tuy and michelen, there is a concerted effort to get the support of bar associations and to call their attention to vinluan's case.

    he no longer practices law and suffered multiple heart attacks.

    "i gave up my office in manhattan and my practice," vinluan said. "my health has deteriorated and it will just be a disservice to my other clients because my concentration right now is with the sentosa case."

    vinluan admitted that he has no income. all of his savings are gone, and his family survives because his wife works. with the trial, he is expected to spend thousands of dollars for his defense counsel.

    "like the nurses," vinluan said, "i have to raise funds."

    according to vinluan, it was only when the judge's decision came down and he learned that his case will go to trial, that it hit him.
    he was banking on the case not going to trial.

    anyway, we'll know the truth after the courts decide on the case.

    from the post above, other nurses working for sentosa are happy with their working conditions.