Santa Rita Jail workers refunded after employer’s benefit error

NewsNovember 24, 2021

Since January 2020, Geneica Williams, a nurse and NUHW steward at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, where workers are employed by the private firm Wellpath, had been paying for a supplemental long-term disability benefit that would allow her to cover a portion of her income while out of work for an extended leave. 

Except that when Williams actually attempted to make use of it during an extended medical absence, she was denied the benefit.

The reason? She’s a California resident.

It turns out Wellpath workers in the Golden State are not eligible for this benefit, but the company neglected to inform them about this, even though it kept charging them for it. 

NUHW immediately filed a grievance, demanding that the company refund all employees who had been paying to receive the benefit without being eligible to use it. 

The result: Wellpath reimbursed NUHW members at Santa Rita Jail a combined $44,900. Individual reimbursement amounts varied from $33 to $4,000 depending on what the employee paid into the benefit and were applied to workers’ paychecks on November 12. 

NUHW is now working to secure reimbursements for Wellpath members at Stanislaus County Jail and Sonoma County Jail.