Former hospital workers consult G’wood lawyer |

Former hospital workers consult G’wood lawyer

An employment lawyer in Glenwood Springs confirmed he is representing a group of employees recently laid off by Aspen Valley Hospital.Sandy Karp, of the Leavenworth & Karp law firm, said he is “pursuing matters on behalf of several long-term employees,” but is not currently in litigation against the hospital on their behalf. He refused to release the names or how many employees he is representing, citing confidentiality.Karp said he will represent employees in talks with the hospital about changes to the employee handbook made weeks before 34 workers were fired on April 14. The hospital purportedly slashed the levels of severance pay 21 days before it laid off 11 percent of its work force.Cathy Zimmer, a 13-year employee, recently told The Aspen Times that her severance package was reduced from 13 weeks to two weeks. Zimmer has not retained Karp.Karp said the reduction in severance was an unjust blow to the fired employees.”The idea that [the hospital] reduced its severance packages – in my opinion it’s not how you should treat those [long-term] employees,” Karp said. “We are not talking about people that worked [there for] two months. These are people that were dedicated to the hospital … they dedicated their lives; it’s just not the right way to treat them.” Karp is also representing Carbondale resident and former AVH employee Chriss Keele, who filed a suit in May alleging that the hospital and her employer, Dr. Gordon Gerson, committed age discrimination when they let her go from the cardiology clinic a year ago.Hospital attorney Paul Taddune said he had not been contacted by Karp about severance packages. He also said negotiations with Keele are “near conclusion.””I’m not aware of a larger suit or action against the hospital,” Taddune said. Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is– see Hospital on page A7– continued from page A1

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