Leadership | 06.21.22
Travel Nurses, Gig Work Expose Hospital Employers to Legal Risks
As gig nursing expands, particularly through mobile applications, there are legal and regulatory risks for both hospitals and the staffing firms they use to fill staffing gaps. These include misclassification claims, joint-employer disputes, complex wage and hour laws, and licensing and certification requirements. Attorneys say that staffing firms could find it difficult to navigate the regulations amid the expiration of licensing flexibilities implemented during the pandemic that enabled travel nurses to move from state to state more easily. "Given the already serious issues with many of these health care workers feeling overwhelmed and underpaid, they're going to turn these questions not just to the individual hospitals, but potentially also to the companies that are hosting these platforms," says Sonya Rosenberg, a labor and employment partner at Neal Gerber Eisenberg. Among other things, says Tracey Jaensch, a partner at FordHarrison, it is important to read contracts closely to determine which entity is liable if a gig nurse sues a health care facility and a staffing firm. Jaensch says that although agreements typically say the hospital is not a temporary worker's employer, federal courts may decide the hospital is a joint employer.