Note: This story has been updated with information provided by a Lehigh Valley Health Network spokesman who said affected Sodexo staff will have their opportunity to remain employed under a new food services vendor.
It sounded like more than 350 food service employees who now work for Sodexo at two Lehigh Valley Health Network hospitals may lose their jobs at the end of March, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry website.
That’s not the case, according to hospital spokesman Brian Downs.
The department lists “Sodexo Inc. and Affiliates” on its January 2020 WARN notices page, which means a WARN notice has been delivered to the 353 affected employees.
A WARN notice is required by the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act, a 1988 U.S. labor law which requires an employer to provide a 60-day written notice when the employer intends to lay off more than 50 employees during any 30-day period as part of a plant closing or mass layoff.
Downs said the confusion was caused by the hospital’s decision to begin using another food service vendor.
“Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has selected Compass One Healthcare to provide food and nutrition and environmental services network-wide, including LVHN facilities in the Hazleton area, Schuylkill County and the Poconos,” he said in a statement. “The effective date is April 1, 2020.”
“The hourly employees can apply for positions under the new vendor, and will have positions if they meet the criteria,” Downs said. “They will simply work for Compass One, not Sodexo.”
“They are not being laid off,” he stressed.
Downs said hospital patients, visitors and staff can expect excellent service under Compass One.
“Providing exceptional support services is an essential part of giving our patients and their families the health care experience they expect and deserve,” he said. “By expanding our partnership with Compass One Healthcare–which has provided environmental services at LVHN for nearly 25 years–LVHN will standardize services across the health network to help ensure patients, families and employees have a consistent experience at all health network facilities. Hourly staff who currently provide food and nutrition services at LVHN will have the opportunity to keep their employment. Management level employees will remain Sodexo employees. No LVHN employees will be impacted.”