Fired nurses accuse Fairview Southdale Hospital of age discrimi...

Full story: TwinCities.com

Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina is facing a federal age-discrimination complaint because it is firing 25 nurses - and 23 of them are older veteran nurses.

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merk Burnsville MN

Miami, FL

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#22
Jul 31, 2008
 

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what wrote:
The bottom line is that LPN's have been phased out in just about every other health care system hospital in MN. It was only a matter of time before Fairview joined them. I feel bad for the LPN's that have been let go, but they had to see it coming.
And what is your expertise in the bottom line? Are you involved with the health field? Tell me what your connection with this case or any other health care related field. Not trying to discredit your stand but if you know the why and where of this situation please share. Otherwise yours is just another bland generic statement. Again, the LPNs do not give a rip if you "feel bad" or not. This is what puts food on the table.
RN spouse

Gardner, KS

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#23
Jul 31, 2008
 
MONEY wrote:
Its happening everywhere, companies are pushing out the older (HIGHER PAID)employees and hiring new people who are at the bottom of the pay scale. Get rid of 1 LPN who makes 80,000 and hire a RN who makes 50,000 and is higher educated more proficient with technology and more eager and hungry to learn and move up. Sounds like they just saved 30,000 on just one employee imagine how much they saved on 25. How do you know the pay scale of ANY health care employee? I am sure ANY hourly worker would LOVE to make $80,000 a year, and I doubt ANY LPN is making that kind of money.
why should nurses feel any more wronged than the the rest of us in Corporate America. Oh I forgot Hospitals like Fairview especially in EDINA are businesses they dont take patients with no insurance.THAT I AM SURE THE THUGS AT THE SEIU WOULD LOVE TO TRAP THE HOSPITAL IN A PROBLEM TO BENEFIT THEIR POLITICAL FRIENDS, BUT THAT IS AN OUT-AND-OUT LIE! That hospital is reserved for the investor class of Americans of course they are going to run it in a corporate manner, those LPN's shouldve seen this coming
Do you have a mutual fund or 401-k? You are as guilty as anyone,as your funds are invested in, yes, those evil hospital groups. What a hypocritical comment.
newmom

Plymouth, MN

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#24
Jul 31, 2008
 

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merk Burnsville MN wrote:
I would like to hear from one person that has a stake in all of this. The LPN's we are talking about here are all highly skilled employees. I read one guy who "works" at Fairview says the Hospital loses millions a year on uninsured patients. Does your work involve scrubbing floors or preparing meals? Newmom wants to ask; who would you rather take care of you, an LPN or RN? Better question, who does the RN want working next to her, an LPN or a nursing assistant? Well newmom, guess who cared for your newborn like it was her very own? Probably an LPN with 20 to 40 years behind them. Instead of putting down the job they do maybe you should thank them. And frde, what in Gods name do you know about these displaced workers. These LPN's were FIRED for no probable cause. The last thing they want is some backhanded praise from you. And do not kid yourself, Fairview is not finding positions of value for the LPNs.
Now for you "sure whatever" and "totally worth it". Did you spit out the gum before you said it? Can you say Community College? An LPN holds your hand and attempts to share her hands on expearience and you have the nerve to state she is not qualified to provide a higher level of care.
What I am saying is this. Your opinions mean nothing to these very real people. Few if any of you know the workings of this Hospital. Fewer yet know what contributions the LPNs have made. And not one of you know the impact of Fairview's hatchet job on these long time and dedicated employees or their families.
I am very sure that the LPNs are compassionate, hardworking people. And yes, it is sad that they are getting laid off... but we are living in a tough time.. and like I said before- many corporations are giving out pink slips and saying goodbye to employees- long or short term - no one likes to be laid off, but the hospital isn't committing "age discrimination" - they are just reponding to the times we are unfortunately living in... and it is sad, but it is a reality... and I wouldn't be so quick to blame the "management" - I'm sure these decisions are not easy...life is about options, and I would think that another place that needed LPNs would be thrilled to have people with such experience.
merk

United States

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#25
Aug 1, 2008
 

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newmom wrote:
<quoted text>
I am very sure that the LPNs are compassionate, hardworking people. And yes, it is sad that they are getting laid off... but we are living in a tough time.. and like I said before- many corporations are giving out pink slips and saying goodbye to employees- long or short term - no one likes to be laid off, but the hospital isn't committing "age discrimination" - they are just reponding to the times we are unfortunately
living in... and it is sad, but it is a reality... and I wouldn't be so quick to blame the "management" - I'm sure these decisions are not easy...life is about options, and I would think that another place that needed LPNs would be thrilled to have people with such experience.
I tried as hard as I could to find some life in what you wrote. You liken this to “saying goodbye”?? Life is about options? Do you even have a clue? This is not about pink slips and getting laid off. It is about being fired without just cause. It is about being offered substandard jobs so Fairview can make a case to deny unemployment benefits. Many of these folks are nearing retirement. But now face lower wages, downgrading of benefits and quality of life. Do you understand the difference? And yes it has everything to do with management. It is about a decision made by a single minded individual attempting to climb the corporate ladder on the backs of these hard working folks. It is about a Hospital attempting to generate a false standard of quality at the expense of its Patients and Insurers. Yes, this will increase the cost of care at Fairview.
Your pity is misplaced. This is a fight. Your pat on the head attitude is childlike in approach. This is group of adults facing a major upheaval in their lives. So you may hug this poor misunderstood Corporation or you can see it for what it is. An uncaring and cold giant who would cheat 25 people out of the one thing they did for 20 -40 years with little more than a kick in the hind end..
So please, spare me your tired and uninformed scribbling. Find a topic that you do know something about and take a stand. Take off the rose colored glasses and check out the real world. Do a little research; you may be surprised what you find.
Seriously

Minneapolis, MN

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#26
Aug 1, 2008
 
merk Burnsville MN wrote:
<quoted text>
And what is your expertise in the bottom line? Are you involved with the health field? Tell me what your connection with this case or any other health care related field. Not trying to discredit your stand but if you know the why and where of this situation please share. Otherwise yours is just another bland generic statement. Again, the LPNs do not give a rip if you "feel bad" or not. This is what puts food on the table.
Well, merk I am an RN. And as I stated before, LPN's have been phased out most hospitals. Because of the higher level of care that the floor nurses are being required to give, there are a lot of things the LPN's are not allowed to do by law. One of which is transfusing blood and blood products. LPN's are also not allowed (again by law not me) to do initial assessments, access central lines, push certain meds. This may vary by facility and/or state. I'm not saying that LPN's are not competent to perform these duties, I'm just stating what the laws say they can't do. It is very difficult to even find a hospital that hires LPN's as floor nurses. And even though you don't care, I still feel bad for the LPN's that are losing their jobs.
merk

United States

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#27
Aug 1, 2008
 
Seriously wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, merk I am an RN. And as I stated before, LPN's have been phased out most hospitals. Because of the higher level of care that the floor nurses are being required to give, there are a lot of things the LPN's are not allowed to do by law. One of which is transfusing blood and blood products. LPN's are also not allowed (again by law not me) to do initial assessments, access central lines, push certain meds. This may vary by facility and/or state. I'm not saying that LPN's are not competent to perform these duties, I'm just stating what the laws say they can't do. It is very difficult to even find a hospital that hires LPN's as floor nurses. And even though you don't care, I still feel bad for the LPN's that are losing their jobs.
OK, I grant you some of what you present. And if this was a fair and equitable situation I would have no problem. However, in this case the LPNs deserve to be treated so much better than Fairview has. There is no package being offered, no real job opportunity, no guarantee of seniority retention, downgraded benefits including earned vacation time. The worst being the threat of denying unemployment if the LPNs do not accept jobs offered at Fairview. Fired with a chance to be rehired as ????
If this was the plan all along, Fairview should have been proactive in training and continuing education opportunities. There is an underlying reason for this. The Fairview system was determined to mine the younger talent coming out of School. I am confident that this will come out as being an accurate statement. Therefore I can understand the resulting age discrimination claim.
I am not sure if you are a 2 or 4 year RN. All 2 year RN’s should be aware of a trend to eliminate or reduce their roles as well. I am not here to argue the value of a Human being, just feel Fairview has not been a responsible employer.
Sammyboy

Minneapolis, MN

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#28
Aug 1, 2008
 

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As a family member of one of the nurses being laid off, and going through a similar situation in my own job, I can't help but wonder what the motivation really is by Fairview. A previous poster mentioned that keeping the LPNs on will increase the cost of care in these hospitals, because they are higher paid than a new RN, and can perform less care. However, I believe a fair number of the LPNs work in the OB area of the hospital, and therefore are not working on the "sicker" patients Fairview claims to have. In fact, the jobs an RN and LPN perform in the nursery are very similar, making little sense to replace a lower paid employee with a higher paid one.

A common joke among nurses, especially among LPNs, is that LPN stands for "Low Paid Nurse" and RN is "Rich Nurse." It is true, of course, that RNs require more licensing, can perform more duties, and go through more schooling. That is not in doubt, and they earn the extra pay for the extra work and training they have. Because of that, most first year RNs at Fairview have pay that is equal to an LPN with 10 years of experience. An LPN of 32 years is making roughly $23/hour, while a similar RN could be making 50-75% more than that, based on information shared between nurses. So, it wouldn't take long for the "savings" to blossom into greater salary payments. Also, the RNs have a richer contract in terms of benefits and vacation time, which adds to the cost of keeping them.

Most of these LPNs will be retiring in the next 10 years, or even less. There is no pension from Fairview, and the 403(b) they are offered has little in the way of match from Fairview. They are being offered unit-coordinator and nursing assistant positions, but are told they may need to work in 3-4 areas of the hospital to get the number of hours they currently get, and greatly reduced pay. Not to mention they would lose the benefits they had before, and be dropped to the bottom of the seniority scale and years of service, greatly reducing benefits that are based on service-time. As someone pointed out, this is an attempt by Fairview to get out of paying unemployment benefits, as if the nurse turns down a job offer that they are overqualified for, they left on their own, and weren't involuntarily terminated. It's rather underhanded, though widely practiced in the private sector.

My family pushed our impacted nurse for years to get an RN license. Not because we thought this would happen, especially as the need for any available health care professional grows, but because it would jump her payscale and provide her better benefits. The issue was that in raising a family in addition to working evenings, class was not easy to find time or money for, as Fairview didn't provide much in tuition reimbursement. Additionally, the contract for the RNs was worded in a way that did not accept service as an LPN, and the seniority would have been lost, and that means everything at the hospital. Hindsight is 20/20, certainly. Now asking 50 and 60 somethings to go back to school and get an RN job is pointless, just like telling a laid off factory worker who is 55 to go back to school. The job market is tough, and it's a competitive world out there, and you can't just say, "Let them slide," because it would never end. But, especially for a company that is supposed to be non-profit (which Fairview is) and supposed to be about compassion and humanitarianism, this is not good PR. And if a company is not going to be honest about its dealings, not offer a severance package (other than saying they'll pay out accrued vacation time) and then insult their employees by offering them replacement jobs that have no bearing on what they did before and not even a close to comparable salary, then it should be required to go through the expense of defending itself against a lawsuit. It's only that way that employees can keep the employers in check, and make sure that both parties act in good faith.
cat scratch fever

Moorhead, MN

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#29
Aug 2, 2008
 
I get the low paid nurse thing all the time, lol!! I'm an LPN.....but work in a clinic. I have thought about doing the online RN program, but it's alot of work for someone like me, who has never wanted to work in a hospital setting, plus, you lose your senority alot of the time. There will ALWAYS be a need for LPN's..maybe not in the hospitals, but in other settings....if they were planning to "phase out" LPN's, we would see a decrease in schools that teach them, and that is just NOT happening.
www

Saint Paul, MN

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#30
Aug 2, 2008
 
This is not something new. LPNs are gone at other hospital systems. They can call it age discrimmination all they want, but its happening all over and I believe the courts will see that.

Secondly, as a former employee of Fairview working in the business office, they do have millions of dollars in unreimbursed healthcare each year. And each year that amount increases while reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare decreases.
Merk

Miami, FL

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#31
Aug 2, 2008
 

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I encourage everyone to visit Youtube, SEIU LPN site and see what Fairview is really doing to these people. Watch, read and listen. Put yourself in the shoes of these hard working and dedicated longterm Employees. These people are real! These people are hurt, and their lives shattered. All these folks have done for years is care for you. And all they asked for the years of service was to someday retire with dignity. They are proud of the jobs they do and were once proud of the Hospital they worked for.
dmf

Duluth, MN

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#32
Aug 2, 2008
 
I found sammy boy' comment very interesting and informative. I can't believe that the hospital would ask these LPN"s to take a salary cut, but I'm sure it is true. I can't help but wonder if Fairview Southdale is applying for magnant status, which is a coveted status symbal awarded to hospitals that employ only RN care for patients, I believe. Also, where would the hospital have been in the 80's when the RN strike happened, without the LPN's. RN,s have a lot of power and it is justified as the hopital can not function without them. Also, just a quick thought on all the comments from people on the reality of pink slips in the work place these days. I find it sad that as a nation we are becoming complaicent to this and take it so matter of fact. This hospital had other option's they could have used that would be a lot kinder and caring toward their dedicated employee's who had been there best bargain for all those years.
sandmom

Minneapolis, MN

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#33
Aug 3, 2008
 
what wrote:
The bottom line is that LPN's have been phased out in just about every other health care system hospital in MN. It was only a matter of time before Fairview joined them. I feel bad for the LPN's that have been let go, but they had to see it coming.
I agree with your post completely. Nobody said it would be easy or fair, but the LPN's had forewarning about the change. I am a 47 year old RN student with one semester to go. I have been educated, challenged and knew that I would not want to spend my time and money in school only to be in jeopardy after graduation if I only went to school to be an LPN. They tell you this in school also, and infact begin pushing for the BSN if the RN is only a two year associate degree. This is the reality, so I would suggest to prepare accordingly if this is the field you choose.
I think you misunderstood

Minneapolis, MN

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#34
Aug 4, 2008
 
cat scratch fever wrote:
I get the low paid nurse thing all the time, lol!! I'm an LPN.....but work in a clinic. I have thought about doing the online RN program, but it's alot of work for someone like me, who has never wanted to work in a hospital setting, plus, you lose your senority alot of the time. There will ALWAYS be a need for LPN's..maybe not in the hospitals, but in other settings....if they were planning to "phase out" LPN's, we would see a decrease in schools that teach them, and that is just NOT happening.
I don't think the previous poster meant that LPN's are being phased out completely. There will always be a need for LPN's, just not in the hospitals. That is where they are being phased out.
M Reed

Omaha, NE

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#38
Aug 4, 2008
 
William Mitchell Grad wrote:
It would have been nice if the article gave more detail regarding the ages of the plaintiffs (not to necessarily fault the reporter...this information may not have been available to Mr. Olson). The article mentions "older veteran nurses", but how many of the nurses are 40+ years of age? Fyi, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act only covers employees who are 40+(the state Human Rights Act had broader coverage). What is the average age or median age of the 25 unfortunate LPN's? What is the average age or median age of the fortunate RN's?
The average age is 57, and if anyone wants to "Hear and See" the nurses go to: www.youtube.com then go to link SEIU LPN. All are over 40 years of age.
Merk

Miami, FL

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#39
Aug 4, 2008
 
For those folks posting here that are convinced Fairview is actively assisting these LPNs in the search for new jobs. Fairview's HR group has stated it will not offer letters of recommendations to any of the fired Nurses. And please accept the fact that these Nurses are being fired. Dressing up this tragic event with words like phased out, laid off or whatever is inaccurate.
To you Sandmom, congrats on your degree. But again it has nothing to do with what is happening at Fairview. A large proportion of the Nurses involved here are 50-60+ years in age.
M Reed

Omaha, NE

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#40
Aug 4, 2008
 

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newmom wrote:
our population is getting older, and that means more sick people in need of hospital care... personally I would rather know that I am being cared for by people who have the higher level of training that an RN has... if you look at what it takes to get your LPN versus your RN...they should have put that in the article... I sympathsize with losing a job, but claiming age discrimination when it is community practice at other hospitals seems a little out there... doesn't the article say that Fairview is helping them find new jobs... I can tell you most corporations would not even think of doing that - it would be pink slip and out the door..
Fairview may have said that they are going to help their LPN get new jobs,but what kind that wont waste the nursing training that they have? What the article also failed to mention was that Fairview had a contract signed with their LPN's that ends somewhere in late 2009, which they are not honoring, nor paying out,nor is there any mention of a severance package. P/S just because a LPN does not have the training of an RN, does not mean that the LPN can not be certified in some of the additional procedures that may qualify that LPN to have the patient care ability that Fairview states the LPN lacks. An LPN License vs. Hospital POLICY can be 2 very different things. All that aside, Honor, Ethics and Morality should take place in a Corporation that that has had employees hearts and souls for decades.
Mike Townsend

Minneapolis, MN

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#41
Aug 8, 2008
 
The agerage age for the majority of the fired LPN's is OVER 40 with a total of 530 years of experience at Fairview. The average age of their replacements (RN) is 22. You do the math.
Mike Townsend

Minneapolis, MN

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#42
Aug 8, 2008
 
The average age o fth eterminated LPN's is OVER 40 and the average age for their replacements (RN) is UNDER 25. You do the math...
William Mitchell Grad wrote:
It would have been nice if the article gave more detail regarding the ages of the plaintiffs (not to necessarily fault the reporter...this information may not have been available to Mr. Olson). The article mentions "older veteran nurses", but how many of the nurses are 40+ years of age? Fyi, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act only covers employees who are 40+(the state Human Rights Act had broader coverage). What is the average age or median age of the 25 unfortunate LPN's? What is the average age or median age of the fortunate RN's?
Mike Townsend

Minneapolis, MN

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#43
Aug 8, 2008
 
The 23 out of the 26 LPN's terminated at Fairview are well OVER the age 0f 40 with over 500 years of combined experience at Fairview. The average age of the replacement RN's is UNDER 25. You do the math, We ARE being discriminated against...
BSN

Minneapolis, MN

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#44
Aug 10, 2008
 
I also work at Southdale and am outraged at the way the LPN's were fired. There were no severance packages, they don't get paid out for their sick time (some had 600 hours), and they were told that they were fired in an unprofessional manner. I worked with many of the LPN's and I can tell you that experience makes a huge difference in care. Personally I would rather have an LPN that has years and years of experience and knowledge than a new RN that is "book smart" but is still lacking practical skills. Just because I have a 4 year degree, doesn't make me a better nurse than my LPN co-workers....they were a Wonderful, talented, smart, caring group of people.
Bubbles wrote:
The workforce is continually evolving. It clearly stated in the article that the LPN role was in higher demand in the past because these employees were an important part of the charting and planning process. Now that new technology has made these tasks unnessicary, there is not as high of a need for this job description. Should the hospital keep these people on for nostalgic reasons? I guess we could all decide to pay even more for our healthcare. If one were to ask me, I would say that we should look to maximize efficiency in the healthcare system. Every worker out there today should take a good hard look at their daily tasks and see if they are being automated or replaced by some technology. If this is the case, retrain yourself. This is not easy, cheap or fair. Fairness aside, it is reality. The days of sitting in the same cube for 20 years, not improving your skills and expecting to have a continuous job are over. They have been for long time.

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