Two former nurses at Finley Hospital in Dubuque have filed suit claiming the hospital blacklisted them using their health network. Attorney, Nate Willems, represents Lisa Flanagan and Ellen Rath. “We are alleging that Finley Hospital uses a database that essentially takes the initiative to communicate a negative message toward other prospective employers — do not hire or do not rehire particular individuals,” Willems explains.
Finley Hospital is now part of the Unity Point health network. Rath says she had several interviews with other Unity Point hospitals and all went well until the human resources department got involved. Willems alleges this is point where the “do not hire messages” were used. “This is very different from an ordinary situation where somebody applies for a job and checks references and that sort of thing,” Willems says.
He says checking a person’s background is legal, but says trying to block them from getting a job is blacklisting, which is illegal. “If you can’t get a job at any employer that has a relationship with Unity Point, that makes it rather challenging to get a job in health care in Iowa,” Willems says.
Flanagan worked at Finley from 1989 to 2009 and Rath from 2005 to 2011. The suit is asking for damages the two women suffered by not being able to get a nursing job. Willem says the damages would be the difference between the pay of the job that the person sought, compared to the job they were able to obtain. He says the law allows the damages to be tripled. The two women are asking for a jury trial.
Finley director of community relations, Susan Chapman, told Radio Iowa they have been sent a copy of the lawsuit from the lawyers. But, she says the hospital has not yet been served notice of the lawsuit and their response at this time is: “Finley intends to defend the claims. And Filey is compliant with the laws in this area.”