APPLETON - Seven health care workers will be able to start their new jobs at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton after a judge dismissed a temporary restraining order Monday that was barring them from doing so at the request of their former employer, ThedaCare.
Outagamie County Circuit Court Judge Mark McGinnis ruled that ThedaCare's arguments were not enough to uphold the injunction.
McGinnis said he signed the initial restraining order Friday because of the gravity of the situation that ThedaCare laid out in their complaint. Wisconsin statute says the court should give "substantial weight" to any adverse impact on public safety when deciding what to require in the order.
Lawyers for ThedaCare had argued the region would be in danger of not having health care for severely injured patients or people who had suffered strokes if the seven employees moved to Ascension for their Monday start date.
But after Monday's hearing, McGinnis said ThedaCare could rely on alternate staffing solutions it already is pursuing to preserve care, including cross-training employees who do similar jobs at ThedaCare's Appleton hospital.
The broader case, in which ThedaCare argues that Ascension inappropriately group-recruited these employees, will go forward in court, but the employees are free to begin their new jobs on Tuesday. A lawyer for ThedaCare said the seven employees would be compensated for Monday's missed work at the higher wage they would have had if they'd started as planned at Ascension.