Detox clinic closes for bed bugs, staff told to use 'sick or vacation' time

A detox center is turning away patients due to a bed bug infestation but employees tell FOX 46 they're the ones who are suffering.

A note on the door at Daymark Recovery Services in Monroe says they are "temporarily closed." The clinic offers detoxification services for people suffering from a mental health or substance illness.

An employee who works there, who asked to remain anonymous, says staff were told they had to use "sick or vacation time" during the forced time-off or else stay home without pay. 

FOX 46 reached out to company, and we are getting results. 

"Obviously, we have had a breakdown in communication somewhere," said president and CEO Billy West Jr., who says that is not company policy. "We are going to make sure that all employees have the correct information today."

West says it is "not our normal operating procedure" to ask employees to take vacation time or sick leave when they are not sick. He says employees who want to work during the clinic's closure can do so at one of three other locations.

West hopes to have the bed bug problem resolved "soon."

The Monroe clinic should reopen Friday night, West said. 

Daymark Recovery Services Statement

"Please know that we have four facility based crisis units that provide crisis and detoxification services for approximately 4,000 people suffering from a mental health or substance illness annually. Bed bugs were a sporadic problem over 10 years ago but since our new protocols we have had no problems up until this most recent incident and anticipate resolution soon. We also anticipate this resolution to be long standing. 

Regarding employee payment concerns, this comes as a surprise to me given our protocols haven't changed in how we have handled similar issues related to closures due to acts of God or anything out of the employee control. I can only assume there has been a miscommunication somewhere. The following protocols should be taking place. I will bullet for easy reading. The short of this is, no employee should be forced to take leave without pay or vacation time if they prefer to work.

During any such closure all employees have the choice of:

  1. They may go to one of our outpatient clinics and working. In this case, the Union Out Patient Office is less than 3 miles from the Union Facility Based Crisis and is open Monday though Friday, 8am to 8pm. Employees may choose to work there. They also have the choice of outpatient clinic options in Albemarle (30 min), Concord (20 min) and Salisbury (45 min). For those employees needing work after normal business hours, they may work in our Concord Facility Based Crisis Unit. 
  2. If any employee prefers not to work in one of our other inpatient or outpatient sites they may choose to take leave without pay or use their vacation time. If they choose either of these options, it is their choice. No one is to use sick leave unless they are truly sick.

I am not sure where the information you shared with me came from for it is not our normal operating procedure, nor can sick leave ever be used as use described. Obviously, we have had a breakdown in communication somewhere. To that end, we are going to make sure that all employees have the correct information today. For those employees that may have already been subject to time off and did not understand the process, we will address that individually with them so they will not have an adverse consequence. 

Thank you for your interest in our services and for bringing this to my attention.