A former manager of Advantage on Call LLC, Ryan Hee, and a firm now called VDA OC LLC were accused in legal documents filed on Tuesday of conspiring with their competitor, only referred to as ‘Company A’ in the documents, not to hire or recruit employees from each other.
The documents also showed that the two companies also agreed that they would not grant nurses a pay increase. In an email sent by Hee in 2016 to a Company A representative, he advised the representative not to negotiate for a salary increase with the nurses, and in case they threatened them and demanded a pay increase, Hee said that such employees would be asked to kick rocks.
Nurses not eligible for a pay rise
The events leading up to the indictment are alleged to have occurred between October 2016 and July 2017 according to company Counsel Susan Ball. This was also the month that Advantage call was acquired by Cross Country.
According to case filings, Company A and Advantage on Call won a contract with Clark County School District, which is the fifth-largest in the country with over 300,00 students and 336 school campuses.
According to the contract terms, the two firms were supposed to hire nurses who would provide constant care to medically vulnerable students in the county. The nurses would be tasked with taking care of the students during classroom time, in hallways, dining areas, bus rides and even when doing other school activities.
However, the two accused ended up forming a pact that denied their employees fair wages, promotions and the ability to bargain for better, higher-paying jobs.
If convicted, Hee’s violation of the Sherman Act can result in him being jailed for up to 10 years, a fine of up to $1 million. Company A can also find itself in trouble and be fined over $100 million.