slander against the provider

  1. Please help me, I have reported a fellow employee, not a nurse, who has been telling anyone who would listen that our provider is using drugs. It was said as gossip, she slanders everyone, she only said it to myself and 2 fellow nurses. It has been determinded it is false, however, my company wants to give her the benefit of the doubt, although the doctors want her fired. She will be transfered from our office. My question is this, why would a company hold on to an employee like this? They believe me and my coworkers. I am so distraught, along with my coworkers and the doc we work for.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   purplemania
    Slander is a crime. There should be a company policy addressing retention of persons who gossip and slander, because it has a direct effect on the public opinion (and profit) of the company. As you have pointed out, it affects morale and creates stress within the organization, decreasing productivity. Also, good employees may elect to leave rather than be associated with this behavior. So I recommend you and your co-workers communicate your concerns with the appropriate director, like Human Resources, or the Medical Director---whoever has the clout to get things done. Good luck!
  4. by   nurse92
    Thank you for your reply, Purple. My decision now is to stay with my company, I LOVE MY JOB, or seek other employment. Funny, no one in management has wanted to talk to me yet, my Dr. has been fighting for this persons dismissal. I will keep you posted. I have found in life it is harder to tell the truth sometimes than sweeping things under the rug. Have a good day, everyone.
  5. by   Agnus
    I am an employer (out side of nursing, though I am also a working RN) There are many reason why and employer does not immediately fire a bad employee.

    Hiring is a lot easier than fireing. There are a lot of legal implications to firing and a lot of financial implications.

    Often employers realize that a troublesome employee will leave on thier own. Some times we create and enviroment (or more often the employee creates it his self) where they soon just leave. This is the easiest and most desirable.

    There is no question then against denial of unemployment (the employer pays it). There is a LOT LESS likely hood that the employee will come back disgruntled and try to create trouble for the employer or the remaing employees. Because it was the person's own decision to leave. they do not try to sue for wrongful dismissal.
    True they would problably loose, but fighting it is costly and time consuming.

    Finding a replacement is time comsuming and expensive. Sometimes we buy time until we feel we are in a position to replace a person. Leting them quit buys that time.

    Often we need a warm body in a postition.

    Unless the physician in question files civil or cirminal charges they will ride this out.

    The physician has no case in a court of law UNLESS he can show specific damage that was done by the slander.

    Just to slander is one thing. However, slander that causes him to loose patients (for example) is another. If you could show that patients started going to another provider speciffically because of this slander then he would have a case. It is unlikly the MD would sue this person (this is a civil not a criminal case) because you can't get blood out of a turnup and I suspect this person has no money.

    She/he is no doubt a problem employee, who needs to go. Now think about this. If this person behaves like this while she/he is still working there what sort of harmful slander might they spread if fired.

    Unfortunately life is not as simple as it seems on the surface.

    Employees like this threaten your bussiness in more ways than one and must be handled with dilligence.

    When she comes to you with gossip tell her you are not interested and you might (if you are bold) tell her you wonder what she says about you if she talks this way about others.

    Telling someone you won't listen to thier gossip is enough to stop them. (you might have to tell them more than once as they will test your resolve) They want an audience and attention. Gossip helps them feel important. They will tell any one who will listen.

    If you and everone there refuses to listen she may start telling patients. When she does that the employer has sound legal reason to fire. Firing on the basis of office gossip alone is very shakey and unsound. If we could fire everyone for office gossip then most employers would loose most of thier staff.
  6. by   boggle
    Quote from Agnus
    I am an employer (out side of nursing, though I am also a working RN) There are many reason why and employer does not immediately fire a bad employee.

    Hiring is a lot easier than fireing. There are a lot of legal implications to firing and a lot of financial implications...................................... ..
    .

    A very interesting post, Angus! It gave me a lot to think about. Sometimes percieved inaction is actually a deliberate action.
    Thanks for your viewpoint.
  7. by   Agnus
    Quote from boggle
    A very interesting post, Angus! It gave me a lot to think about. Sometimes percieved inaction is actually a deliberate action.
    Thanks for your viewpoint.
    I am still learning daily.

    Years ago as a first line and then mid level manager I soon found myself having to explain to subordinates that things as not necessairly what they seem. Often confidentiality of an individual prevents explaining to concerned people what is really happening.

    Other times revealing information can compromize the action that is being taken.

    I have learned first hand that a troublesome employee is 1. unhappy and will leave on thier own in time. 2. You can help them along in that decisions in subtle and legal ways to make that decision sooner if you need him out of there in a hurry. 3. Sometimes a problem employee is too much of an asset in other ways to just get rid of them.

    Employees are not confronted where you and I are aware this is happening.
    Direct confrontation is not always the most effective tactic.

    As I was responding to the original post it dawned on me that this was "office gossip" Vicious gossip, but gossip none the less.

    It did not seem she was telling patients this stuff just fellow employees.
    This is a little different than tellin patients, which would be slander.

    Vicious office gossip or any gossip is best handled by the person being told the gossip to put the person on notice, that they they will not listen nor participate. Gossip is very damaging but it is a little different than what one could take to court.
  8. by   Destinystar
    first of all you can not be a third party victim. meaning that the gossip was not about you. legally you are not the vicitm and have no right to complain. only the person who those statements were made against can bring about action.
    libel- making a false statement of fact that injurs someones reputation
    in order to prove libel 1 of 4 things need to be proved
    1) defendent made statement with malice meaning either believing it was false or with reckless disregard for shether it was. if this was her opinion she is allowed to express it
    2) having committed a crime
    3) being unchaste
    4) being bad at their trade or business
    remember: it takes 2 to gossip.
    in ltc if every employee was terminated for making unflattering remarks the entire building would be emptied out in a matter of 24 hours. some people get to watch the jerry springer show and read the enquirer we get our entertainment from gossip. :chuckle
    Quote from nurse92
    please help me, i have reported a fellow employee, not a nurse, who has been telling anyone who would listen that our provider is using drugs. it was said as gossip, she slanders everyone, she only said it to myself and 2 fellow nurses. it has been determinded it is false, however, my company wants to give her the benefit of the doubt, although the doctors want her fired. she will be transfered from our office. my question is this, why would a company hold on to an employee like this? they believe me and my coworkers. i am so distraught, along with my coworkers and the doc we work for.
  9. by   ceecel.dee
    Quote from nurse92
    ...why would a company hold on to an employee like this?
    Perhaps their "determination" that the drug use allegation is false, is just their way of protecting the reputation of the doctor or facility with no real investigation being done. Perhaps they fear her pushing the issue if they fired her. (Can you tell that I do not trust any administration? )
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I always learn something new here at allnurses. Interesting thread. You guys are quite smart!
  11. by   smk1
    as a coworker i would simply not talk with this person unless necessary (nursing related function), otherwise politely ignore and stay busy. If enough people do this, then the gossiper will probably not like her work envoirnment and leave on her/his own. Even if he or she does stay, you won't be hearing anymore gossip because you aren't holding conversations with the person. Either way problem solved.

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