Vanderbilt Medical Facing Claims Of Labor Law Violations - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vanderbilt Medical Facing Claims Of Labor Law Violations

Posted: Updated:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some former employees have accused Vanderbilt University Medical Center of labor law violations. They said there was a pattern of unnecessary firings.

Vanderbilt announced it would cut an unspecified number of jobs in June just before beginning its new fiscal year on July 1 under pressure from federal spending cuts.

They said the cuts were also prompted by uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act, including whether Tennessee will eventually approve Medicaid expansion.

Attorneys for several former employees said workers were told the decisions were based on job performance and budget cut backs, but they believed people could have been let go simply because of age or race discrimination, rather than the economics conditions.  

One of their clients, 52-year-old Roger Sparks, worked in an animal research lab from 1995 until last week when he was suddenly terminated.

"They just handed me a letter saying you've been terminated," said Sparks. "I was just in shock. I thought, 'well, what did I do wrong?'"

Attorneys George Barrett and former U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said there could be nearly 1,000 employees who have been affected by what they called illegal job cuts.

"We're looking into that to understand exactly what the reason Vanderbilt used and how it went about and selecting the individuals that were ultimately terminated," said Martin.

A lawsuit hasn't been filed, but the attorneys said their firm already has a dozen former employees and that number could grow as they search for proof of wrongdoing.

The attorneys also questioned Vanderbilt's decision to stop allowing employees to accrue vacation between April and July.

Vanderbilt officials declined to comment on the claims, but released an open letter to employees about the cuts earlier this week.

A message from Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine, Jeff Balser, about Vanderbilt's "economic repositioning" was posted on

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.