retaliatory termination

  1. i am expected to testify on behalf of a nurse who was injured on the job, and this testimony would not be favorable for my employer. yesterday i was read the riot act from my administrator (re: a very benign incident) and strongly feel i am being harrassed. my facility is non-unionized. i have worked there for over 5 years, and have always been reputed to be one of the best. this administrator and don have both been at the facility for around a year. do i have any protection or recourse from this harrassment?
    •  
  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   sunnygirl272
  4. by   sjoe
    Document, document, document all of this. Then see an attorney who deals in labor law. (NOT the injured nurse's attorney.)

    (By the way, your job is now toast no matter what you do, so don't bother to try to "save" it.)

    IMHO
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 19, '02
  5. by   Gomer
    Agree...document, document, document. Then check your employee handbook or personnel policies....if there is a harrassment policy follow it...report the harrassment to HR. But document, document, document first
  6. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by earle58
    i am expected to testify on behalf of a nurse who was injured on the job, and this testimony would not be favorable for my employer. yesterday i was read the riot act from my administrator (re: a very benign incident) and strongly feel i am being harrassed. my facility is non-unionized. i have worked there for over 5 years, and have always been reputed to be one of the best. this administrator and don have both been at the facility for around a year. do i have any protection or recourse from this harrassment?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Is telling the truth on the stand as important to you as remaining in your present position? They will make your life miserable...can you afford it? If you are being harrassed now and you have not even testified perhaps it's time to dust off your resume....What would happen to YOU if you were hurt on the job or involved in some kind of malpractice incident? Do you think the administration would back you?
  7. by   caliotter3
    I was terminated for witnessing the DON's pet commit a crime. I covered my own behind by then reporting to the outside agency myself since it was obviously going to be covered up by the facility. As a matter of fact, one of the DON's minions came in at an odd hour to specifically threaten me by telling me that I would be the one accused of the wrongdoing. At the time of the initial incident, I did not know this nurse was a special pet of the DON, nor why. It made no difference, I was out of a job. They also broke the law by not giving me my final pay as per the law. Yes, this firing caused problems with me getting future work, but I always state something to the effect (the truth) that it was a retaliatory termination. I don't try to hide the facts, but there is a certain portion that I wisely don't mention. The rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. It took a very long time but eventually the black listing and bad mouthing dissipated and I finally got a job, albeit one of those employers hurting for employees. Good luck to you. From my experiences, and learning from the experiences of others, if I were you I would think long and hard about pursuing this matter, except for defamation of character if they start black listing you. You need to spend your time looking for a new position, not fighting the past. As far as testifying for the co-worker: it seems that your standing with this employer is already destroyed. You should move on anyway. If it were you in this other person's shoes, wouldn't you want a co-worker to tell the truth on your behalf? To me, not a dilemma. Your job is jeopardized anyway, so you might as well stick with your plan to tell the truth.
    Last edit by caliotter3 on Sep 19, '02
  8. by   leslie :-D
    thanks for the responses, however discouraging.

    sjoe (or anyone), why shouldn't i go to my collegue's attorney? someone suggested i should go there since i am a 'favorable witness'. and what/why am i documenting since there are NO laws to protect us anyway? please pardon my ignorance, but why and how can people get away with this? no matter, when i testify, i can only speak of what i know, which is the truth. furthermore, this nurse was permanently injured through a faulty outlet. i suppose if corporate does not want to be accountable, then they're quite the scum anyway, for not being more concerned about the safety of our patients.
  9. by   Nurse Ratched
    Earle - I agree that you should get an attorney other than your colleague's as there is a natural point at which your interests and hers may diverge. Her attorney has her best interest in mind - that's what you pay a lawyer for. What's best for her may not be best for you, and you should have a third party watching your back.

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Have a friend in the middle of a similar situation right now and she has turned in her notice rather than have the facility fire her (which they are building a paper trail to do using every possible excuse.)
  10. by   fedupnurse
    I do work union and it recently happened to a colleague. You do have options if you are canned. Always have a witness to any discussions you have with management. You can always contact the National Labor Relations Board and file a complaint thru them. I would also get copies of each and every evaluation that you have had at that facility and also request to see your personnel file. I would think most facilities would have a Guarnteed Fair Treatment Procedure and you can also document in writing to HR that you feel you are being harassed and why. Never use the hospital attorney (Firend did that and nearly got soaked) or the same attorney as another person in the same case. Bad move! As stated above they have to look out for their primary client. In a hospital attorney's case it is how to get out of it quietly so the public remains clueless.
    Best of luck. Document your butt of so you have something to refer to in case something happens. You may also want to state when you do testify that you fear losing your job. Now that is documentation!!
  11. by   leslie :-D
    it's funny; my husband urged me to start stating my concerns about harassment NOW/before i get fired, because if i start accusing corporate of being harassed after my termination, then corporate could state that i'm the one retaliating. and when you say document? i couldn't think of a better place than right here.
  12. by   sjoe
    earle58--From your responses it is CLEAR that you need an attorney. You need legal advice (about documenting [and NO this forum does NOT count], attorney conflict of interest, labor laws, wrongful termination [which is about to happen to you, it looks like], etc.)

    Your local bar association can refer you, if you don't know of a competent labor attorney. An initial consult will be inexpensive--MUCH less expensive than what you stand to lose otherwise.

    Otherwise, I can only say "You can lead a horse to water...."
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 19, '02
  13. by   leslie :-D
    it was not my intention to come across as that naive...to the contrary, i am quite competent. of course this forum would not be considered a legal reference, but rather was a way of seeking advice/support; but also publicizing my concerns. to date, i have been extremely vigilant with any interactions with mgmt. and documentation. i am frustrated, angry, appalled and determined. and thanks anyway sjoe, but i truly wasn't interested in soliciting any legal advice. i just want justice for all involved.
  14. by   jurbyjunk
    Get thy butt down to employee relations, ask for your file (you'll need to give them probably 48 hours notice and they won't sound too pleased) and PHOTOCOPY EVERYTHING, even copies of, for instance, your nursing license. And don't let them tell you
    that you can't. I was involved in a retaliatory firing back in '82 (yup, I"m old and ancient) and this is what my union told me to do. Also, I hope that you've kept copies of your evaluations plus any "aren't you wonderful" letters that you might have received.

    Don't tell emp rel that you're planning to photocopy ahead of time, either. Once you've photocopied everything, and I mean everything, in your file, nothing negative can be slipped in without your knowledge and your employer can't claim that you knew about the negative items.

    Everybody's right. Kiss off this job and start applying elsewhere BEFORE any job action can occur. And document any retaliatory threats as well, have your lawyer introduce it into court's evidence when you go to support your co-worker.

    Good luck. I was out of work for almost 2 years, although I took an OR course for the last 7 months and went on to get a job in that field.

    I'd been an NNICU (tertiary, transport team, nurse clinician) nurse for almost 18 years and suddenly found that I was "not qualified" to work in a 5 bed secondary NNICU. Even though on every job application that I filled out, I wrote "please contact BCNU (my union) for further information", each personnel office ignored that and contacted my former employer. And given the opportunity, BC Childrens Hospital viciously blackballed me. They also claimed that I had "lost" my nursing licensure. I sued for "wrongful dismissal" and was awarded all of my backpay, raises, etc. to the tune of $16,000.

    At first, I was numb with shock. Newly single, and with 2 kids to boot. But looking back at that time, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I got to take time to do things with the kids (band mom, paper drives, etc) that I would have missed otherwise. And I discovered that the sum total of my worth was not just my career "label".

    I went on to take a job working in a specialty that I enjoyed, and I've been there for 18 years.
    Last edit by jurbyjunk on Sep 20, '02

close