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Employees’ contract dispute leads to lawsuit

Positive relationships with employees can be extremely important for any New Jersey business. When employees are fundamentally unhappy, their performance can suffer and thereby negatively affect a business. On the other hand, businesses need to stay profitable and cannot bow to every employee demand.

In many cases, the right contracts can help to avoid problematic issues between businesses and their employees. When contracts fail, negotiation with employees may yield positive results. However, in some cases, when other resolution tactics fail, employee disputes can lead to commercial litigation.

HealthBridge Management LLC and CareOne Management LLC recently filed a joint RICO lawsuit against the labor unions that represent their employees. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute is normally used to combat organized crime, but can be used to put a stop to any illegal enterprises that affect interstate or foreign commerce. HealthBridge and CareOne are affiliated companies that operated nursing home and other long-term care facilities in New Jersey and a couple other states.

For the past 21 months, the two companies have been engaged in a contract dispute with the labor unions that represent their employees. The workers have been on strike since June.

HealthBridge and CareOne maintain that they support their employees’ right to collective bargaining, but that the unions have gone too far. The companies claim that the unions have been using illegal means to try to get the companies to agree to the unions’ demands, including harassing company executives.

The unions say that this lawsuit is just a way for the companies to intimidate the employees. Furthermore, they claim HealthBridge and CareOne have no legal basis for bringing this type of suit.

Commercial litigation of any kind can bring business to a standstill. However, when handled properly, litigation can offer the resolution businesses need to move forward.

Source: Fox News, “Elderly care operators file RICO suit against union, citing ‘intimidation, extortion’,” Oct. 13, 2012

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