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Former LSU Health employees enter compensation lawsuit - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Former LSU Health employees enter compensation lawsuit

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SHREVEPORT - BOSSIER CITY -

Several former LSU Hospital employees will head to court in an effort to collect vacation and sick day pay. Bossier Attorney Linda Smith will represent them and says some of her clients are losing thousands of hours they were allowed to accumulate over the years and promised to use.

"You're talking about a hospital," Smith said. "So, they need to be staffed, and if you need to put in the time, you're going to put in the time."

Smith argues the situation her clients are in is a side effect of hospital privatization in Louisiana.

"They also sold this privatization on the fact that we were saving money," Smith said. "If one of the ways they were choosing to save money is not properly compensate the many thousands of people they were laying off, perhaps the public would view this quote layoff versus discharge, privatization versus government run differently."

Smith says her clients are only allowed to collect 300 hours worth of pay in their severance packages, that doesn't include sick days. She says this is because the state laid them off with the promise to be first in line for other jobs in state medical facilities. Since Louisiana is making efforts to privatize all state owned hospitals, Smith believes her clients have basically been fired and robbed of their hours.

"To create a fictional list that says based on your service we're going to give a preference, but we're never going to rehire you because we don't have the jobs is not fair," Smith said.

Smith says private employers in Louisiana must pay a terminated employee for all leave hours gained but never used and the state should do the same for its employees.

"I don't think civil service should be exempted from our state statute," Smith said. "If I did that, then I would be required to pay attorney's fees and penalties. We're saying civil service should be held to the same standard a regular employer in our state would be held to."

Smith expects to enter court in coming weeks. Smith says those laid off employees would've be allowed to rollover their accrued vacation and sick day hours to their new state job. About 45 former state employees at the hospital have appealed to the Louisiana Civil Service Board.

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