|Feb. 20, 2017 | www.fisherphillips.com|
Healthcare providers are required by law to maintain the privacy of most patient information, and there are good business reasons for medical practices to protect patients’ personal information. But in a recent case, a medical practice group found itself unwittingly having to disclose what it considered to be private information of its patients in order to defend a lawsuit brought by former employees. Peace v. Premier Primary Care Physicians, S.C.
On February 12, 2015, U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) underscored its intent to continue to scrutinize hospitals, including nonprofit hospitals. The OFCCP found that Lahey Clinic Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts had discriminated against 38 female housekeepers by paying them $.70 per hour less than male housekeepers. As a result, and while denying liability, Lahey agreed to enter into a settlement agreement with the OFCCP that will pay the affected women a total of $190,000 in lost wages, interest and salary adjustments.
Hospitals, residential-care facilities, home-health agencies, and other employers in the healthcare industry often subcontract labor through outside vendors to fill positions like travel nurses, security guards, and janitors. Unfortunately, these outside contractors may not be in compliance with applicable federal and state employment laws, including wage-and-hour laws.
A Wisconsin hospital scored an important victory in a recent failure-to-hire case involving an allegation of race discrimination. The underlying facts offer a timely reminder to all healthcare employers about what is necessary to reduce the likelihood of a similar claim being filed against the provider you work for, and how such a claim can successfully be defended if and when it arises.