Unpaid Suspension for wanting to be treated fairly

  1. Hi all. Thought I would throw out a question and vent a little at the same time. Today I was suspended without pay. I am circulator at an outpatient surgery center. I was taken to the office of the administrator about 2 months ago because I disagreed with management over some patient care issue during a staff meeting...basically I asked why and next thing I know I was being asked why my attitude was so bad. You have to see I've learned to stand up for what I think is right especially when it comes to my patients safety and my own and other coworkers. Our small center has an administrator who has no experience in healthcare or business. She went to tech school but never worked as one. Our new clinical director is a nurse right out of ADN school (maybe 2 years) with no OR experience or surgical pre or post op experience. But she works cheap and that's how she got the job...they didn't want to pay someone qualified. Ok...I digress. So Monday, I was called to the Clinical Director's office only to be tricked into the administrators office to find to my surprise I was being written up.

    I was being written up because one day last week, I was circulating in pediatric dental cases all day and we had an orthopedic surgeon who was going to be ridiculously late and cause us to start 6 cases possibly after 2 or 3 pm and we close at 430pm. the Director came in while anesthesia and I was in the middle of an induction and proceeded to "tell" me that I would be the one to have to stay late...even though I was tied up in dental and who knows when I would be done. I asked why I had to be the one to stay and she said I was the only one there that wasn't already in overtime. Which by the way was not true but I expressed that I was busy right now with my patient and she continued to hound me and I told her I had a child care issue and that I couldn't do it and that this was an issue long before now and that this could have been fixed days ago. She proceeded to provoke me with crazy reasons I would have to stay. Keep in mind the only reason so many were in overtime is that she had almost every employee there for at least 8 hours the day before cleaning the place. Anyway she is a poor planner and very disorganized and has been there 6 months and has focused more on piddly things and shoppign on the internet rather than figure out staffing and scheduling. Before it was over I just expressed that if second shift is the new thing they might consider hiring a second shift staff. I later found out she went to preop and pacu and told them she was going to go back to the OR to make me mad. So she premeditated her intention to provoke.

    So I get wrote up for "going off" after she nicely asked if I was able to stay to do the cases...(not true). The paper write up has a completely different twist and implies she was asked nicely and that I blew up and was insubordinate for no reason. Well, they also say the doctor went and complained that I said that about second shift but that was not in the write up. I refused to sign the write up and that what was written was subjective and only shows one side. Remember, I hadn't heard a word about the so called incident since it happened. No one asked me about what happened before anything was written. I sit for a day or so and think about it and I just don't think it's right how they went about it. So I put in writing to the administrator, a formal request to investigate what I was being written up for before putting something negative in my file (which I had never had before, anywhere). I listed all witnesses in the room and those that heard the director say she was going to go back and make Melissa mad. Some of the these witnesses may side with the director and that's fine. But I do know that anesthesia person thought she acted awful and said she thought I handled myself very well considering how I was being talked to.
    So today I was called to the office yet again with the director and administrator and was told that an investigation would be done and that I would be on unpaid suspension indefinitely. That my presence would influence the investigation as if having the administrator do the investigation wouldn't and the presence of the director around those employees wouldn't.
    I didn't do anything bad enough to get suspended but asking to be treated fairly got me suspended. And when I was being written up that Monday, I wasn't offered or given a copy. And when she took me to her office two months earlier, she never said it was a verbal warning and there was no paper stating it was verbal warning and then today after puttig in writing i wanted a copy of the write up she produce a paper that had some long lengthy description of me that I had no idea was in my file, as a verbal warning but no signatures on it.
    Anyway....These people have no idea what they are doing and probably are tyring to get rid of me. They hate for anyone to call their bluff and prove they don't know what they are doing. The funny thing is, I'm the only one that volunteers for stuff at work, I took on the infection control coordinator's job in addition to my staff work, I'm on the QA and safety committees, and constantly turn in performance improvement ideas. A lot of this work I do on my own time and enjoy learning and trying to share ideas with coworkers. We're a small place so I know everyone and no one wants to do the committees unless made to and no one wants to volunteer for anything.
    If anyone has any advice or just similar story, feel free.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Little Panda RN
    There are always two sides to every story, but to me it sounds like you are getting the shaft. I would find an attorney, just in case you need one, and let this company know that you have retained and attorney. Maybe their tune will change. I hate it when companies treat their employees this way. I have seen it all to often. Does not sound like to me this is a place I would want to work for. I sure hope all turns out well for you!!!
  4. by   penguin2
    My suggestion to you is to leave now, if they want you gone they will make it appear that they have valid reasons!! Good Luck!
    Last edit by penguin2 on Jan 1, '07
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    apply for unemployment insurance then they will have to put in writing what is going on
    you ae better off w/o thesee people
  6. by   Country PICU
    I would find an attorney, just in case. I would aslo the advice of CHATSDALE.
  7. by   Daytonite
    maia1212. . .my management background tells me that they probably don't have enough to fire you. if they do fire you, file for unemployment immediately. you will probably qualify for it because it doesn't sound like they have all their paperwork and disciplinary actions in order. the unemployment board will ask for it too. guess who pays the cost of any unemployment benefits paid out to you? them!

    anyway, you need to write up what happened in a very factual chronological form, date it and sign it and send it to your immediate supervisor asap. be very careful that it only contains facts and not your feelings or emotions. it doesn't matter what others have said. this is like your testimony of what happened. if anyone else's differs, all the better for you.

    then, all you can do is just wait. if things are as rotten as you say at this place, why do you stay? i would take this opportunity that you have while you are still listed as an active employee on their books to look for another job. things get a bit sticky if they decide to fire you when you are job hunting. my personal opinion, however, is that this job is history. what remains is how soon it is going to take you to realize it, and how ballsy are you to milk this for as much of a severance package as you can get from it.

    something else you can do if you get called in for another pow-wow is to drop subtle hints that you've contacted an attorney to consult them about wrongful termination. just hint at it and keep it very shaded and mysterious. give them something to think about. it might send them to an attorney for advice, in which case, they will probably get some well-deserved education on labor laws.

    if they want you out of there, the smart thing for them to do is to call you in and give you the opportunity to quit. they will do that if someone among them is smart enough to realize what could happen if they do fire you and you file unemployment. your voluntary resignation, of course, will pretty much end any right you have to unemployment compensation. as far as not signing write ups they did of you, employees sometimes do that. what supervisors do is just make notations on these documents that the employee refused to sign them. it becomes a problem if they can show that this was a regular pattern on your part. that's why i say you should write them a letter explaining your side of the story and do it quickly to get your documentation in their hands. this will show your reason for not signing the latest write up. keep copies for yourself, of course. if you ever go to file unemployment you can always claim you never knew of any of the write-ups they claim, especially since they don't have your signature on them.

    may i make one criticism? you have to stop gossiping about these people at work. if you ever do get to go back to work, just go in and do your job. no matter how much you dislike the people in charge, they are holding the reins of power and it is never good to be heard stepping on their toes. if you get someone who is headstrong and not afraid to go after you (as may have happened here) there is no telling how crazy they can get in trying to get back at you.
  8. by   ZASHAGALKA
    It's a nurse's market out there.

    Simply put, I wouldn't WANT to work for people that don't respect me.

    And, in the current market, neither you nor I have to.

    I don't think you can file for unemployment if you status remains 'employed', albeit, suspended. Besides, unemployment requires you to actively seek new employ and I would think it would be difficult for a nurse to remain long on unemployment if you are being honest and ACTUALLY seeking new work.

    I've worked for 'screw the mission, clean your position' employers before. You are better off somewhere else.

    Even if they completely vindicate you and restore you to active status, you can BET that this issue of YOUR child care and overtime will come up, again and again. Your manager now knows a weak spot and seems intent upon capitalizing on it.

    Bottom line, for your manager to seek an 'unpaid suspension' to me sounds like she is looking to line up the ducks to seek your termination. I doubt very seriously you will be working there in 3 months. That being the case, I advise that you leave on your own terms. And do so right away.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  9. by   nursemary9
    Hi

    I would DEFINITELY write up exactly what happened in your own words--so that can go into your file along with there write up.

    Then, I would also, get an attorney & also let them know you are doing that;

    Also, like Tim says, I think I would leave there. It will always be an issue, no matter what; they will find other"problems", believe.
    I don't know about Kentucky, but here in Illinois, we have TONS of job openings!!

    Hope it works out for you, let us know

    Mary Ann
  10. by   MrsK1223
    Thank you all for your feedback. I pretty much knew when that happened yesterday it was the final straw for me. I've been looking for new job opportunities for weeks now and have gotten my resume on some of the online job sites like careerbuilder and such. It's just a matter of finding something I like and can live with. I really love doing the outpatient surgery thing, and has allowed me some degree of a family life and ability to attend classes. I'm working on a communications degree. So don't think that I haven't seen that this job is going no where fast. I just felt that it was a matter of principle to make sure I'm written up after the facts are obtained not before. I guess my question to you all is that is it really worth spending the money on an attorney. I have contacted the labor board but I'm still waiting to hear from them. Again, thanks for your replies.
  11. by   UM Review RN
    So sorry this is happening to you maia. I hope you find something else that's better very soon.

    You're not alone. See this thread-- and respond if you like:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f118/dis...ll-173225.html
  12. by   vamedic4
    maia1212...so sorry this happened to you. You deserve to be treated with more respect than that. It's disgusting to me that administrators attempt to "throw their weight around" like that....
    "The paper write up has a completely different twist and implies she was asked nicely and that I blew up and was insubordinate for no reason. "

    If you say NO to someone, particularly when approached like that...I don't consider that insubordination, particularly when there are other factors involved...like the childcare that you mentioned. You're not in the military and you need not put up with that type of hostile mentality.

    Follow other's advice here...apply for the insurance and perhaps retain an attorney.

    Hope everything works out!!

    vamedic4
    waiting for Austin to wake up

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