Vanderbilt University Medical Center is handing out pink slips, but it's not clear how many. Since Monday, the university has denied any mass layoffs, but there are still a lot of questions about what is happening.
All week, Channel 4 News has received numerous e-mails and phone calls from people who say they worked in departments such as nutrition, animal research and environmental services, saying a large number of employees have been terminated without notice.
We met with some of these former workers Wednesday to try and get more information.
They all said they received the same form letter, saying they were being terminated immediately, given two weeks pay and a $1,000 severance check.
Although a couple of the employees were relatively new, some had been there for years, like Roger Sparks, who worked for Vanderbilt for the past 20 years.
It's been two days since he was fired, but he said he's still in a state of shock.
"Where do I go at 52 years old? For 20 years of your life, you give 20 years of your life to a company like Vanderbilt, and all of the sudden that rug gets pulled out from under you. Where do you go?" he said.
Vanderbilt officials would not speak on camera. Instead, they provided this statement:
"Our longstanding policy is not to comment on personnel matters involving individual employees. We are an institution constantly in pursuit of excellence, aggressively meeting the challenges currently facing not only Vanderbilt, but the nation's entire health care industry. We are committed to the very highest level of care for our patients, which includes addressing workplace performance as necessary."
The Tennessee Department of Labor said it has not been notified of layoffs at Vanderbilt, but added it must only be contacted if the company is laying off one-third or more of its workers.
Approximately 20,000 people currently work for Vanderbilt.
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