Verbal, Written warnings and Termination

  1. 38
    i know a lot of health care employees are worried or concerned they may be on the ladder from verbal warning to written warnings and then fired. for many this is not an unrealistic fear it is something which is affecting their daily working life and erodes into their home life.
    for some employees it is something which occurs out of the blue and was totally unexpected, for some they are expecting it to happen because of an incident which has happen either by human error or an unfortunate series of events, but for most it is devestating situation when it occurs.

    warnings, verbal or written, are usually part of the employer's policy and are not written into law in your state. most states have "at will" employment where you can quit for any reason at any time, or your employer can fire you for any reason at any time.



    so what are verbal warnings? they tend to be the initial step in the progressive discipline process. a verbal warning is an oral notice to an employee that he or she is not meeting expectations or that his or her behavior is inappropriate in the workplace. a verbal warning may be an appropriate response to situations including:
    • inappropriate behavior that if repeated could lead to a written warning
    • use of derogatory language
    • tardiness
    • failure to follow hospital practices/policies


    the next step is a written warning if poor work performance or a behavioral problem continues after an employee receives a verbal warning, a supervisor may need to employ a more serious measure. a written warning might be an appropriate response to situations such as:
    • failure to comply with a verbal warning
    • insubordination
    • frequent absenteeism
    in some instances, a written warning may be appropriate without a prior warning or a record of a prior offense.

    wikipedia quotes termination as

    involuntary termination is the employee's departure at the hands of the employer. there are two basic types of involuntary termination, known often as being "fired" and "laid off." to be fired, as opposed to being laid off, is generally thought of to be the employee's fault, and therefore is considered in most cases to be dishonorable and a sign of failure. often, it may hinder the now job-seeker's chances of finding new employment, particularly if he/she has been fired from earlier jobs. job-seekers sometimes do not mention jobs which they were fired from on their résumés; accordingly, unexplained gaps in employment, and refusal to contact previous employers are often regarded as red flags.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/termination_of_employment

    so what should we do if faced with a verbal warning?

    we should see it as an opportunity to change what ever behaviour is deemed inappropriate in our work environment. we might not always agree with what we are being accused of but at least you are being given an chance to change. you should take notes and not commit the meeting to memory, you can review them later, when you are alone with time to think. if nothing else they can be the "before" point as you start a process of personal growth.
    if your boss doesn't suggest a feedback appointment, ask for an appointment to discuss your progress at a reasonable interval. see this as a continuing dialogue, not just a one-time slap on the wrist.
    not all warnings are fair or appropriate. if the above steps have been taken and you were treated unfairly, you might want to talk to your boss or hr about the warning. although it is just the first stage of discipline, it does go on your record so you shouldn't blow it off. if the situation persists unfairly, make sure your resume is up-to-date.

    if you are given a written warning then you will have an opportunity to read then write your own comments, you are expected to sign a written warning and this is an area of concern for most people, are you signing to say you agree with what is written or are you signing to say you are acknowledging receipt of the written warning?
    you are actually signing receipt of the written warning and not that you agree with what is written, many empoyees do refuse to sign written warnings. hopefully your manager would explain this to you.


    http://www.employer-employee.com/ter....html#employer

    during the course of my research i found it interesting that there were more articles advising the employer how to discipline their employees than useful articles to help the employee work through their issues and what to do if they recieve verbal or written warnings.

    if you do find yourself in one of the above positions it is worth while to do a search on stress and how to manage stress, these articles do offer useful advice which will help you improve your working life and in turn will help you change which will in turn probably meet the work diciplinary requirements.
    if you are reading my blog because it is something which is affecting your life at this time, then document, document, form a positive action plan implement an action plan and see it as a positive allowing you to change and improve.
    good luck
    Last edit by madwife2002 on Jun 6, '09
    martinalpn, Esme12, NRSKarenRN, and 35 others like this.

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  2. Visit  madwife2002} profile page

    About madwife2002, BSN, RN

    madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. From 'Ohio'; Joined Jan '05; Posts: 9,658; Likes: 5,338.

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    162 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  wondern} profile page
    6
    If you have a manager after you , like they say, "I'm gonna get you..." like the boogie man,
    run, run, lsebeg:!!!! Love yourself enough to get the heck out. In an 'at will' to work state, which is probably most states, you won't have a leg to stand on. There is no law against wrongful termination. Bullies and their enablers will make you . Save your self respect and get out.

    I realize there are some things we could do wrong to get written up but when you really find it's over ridiculous nothings and it's over and over and you're in a new area, you are in a witch hunt, my friend, just get out! Transfer to a new dept. to keep your benefits, seniority, face, etc., etc. It's not worth your health. :redpinkhe
    canoehead, earthgirl56, blueheaven, and 3 others like this.
  4. Visit  lamazeteacher} profile page
    2
    The "paper trail" has no value, unless the fired employee chooses to sue their employer, and even then it doesn't help. Many states adopted "at will" laws to avoid lawsuits over frivolous issues.

    Now, because of the many errors and intentional harm evidenced in our profession, that has proven its worth. It's a "no lose" situation for employers, who gleefully tell their employees that they can quit "at will", too.

    Employment law protects employee who were victimized, from vengeful managers who are forbidden to relate employees failings, to potential future employers. They cannot reach your supervisor, as Human Resources is very cautious about revealing only dates of employment, when asked for a reference. However, hospital scuttlebutt being what it is, a particularly nasty manager could fill the ears of another manager with malevolent misinformation about you, at the facility where you might want to transfer.

    You have recourse at that facility, to bring the matter before those above your manager, through Human Resources, and to the union, if you have one. If your nurse manager has persecuted anyone often, you have a chance in the "her/him or me" battle. Good luck with that.
  5. Visit  pennyaline} profile page
    5
    Quote from wondern
    If you have a manager after you , like they say, "I'm gonna get you..." like the boogie man,
    run, run, lsebeg:!!!! Love yourself enough to get the heck out. In an 'at will' to work state, which is probably most states, you won't have a leg to stand on. There is no law against wrongful termination. Bullies and their enablers will make you . Save your self respect and get out.
    You are mistaken. In at will states, wrongful termination still exists and employers can be prosecuted for it. "Bullies and their enablers," if creating a hostile work environment, are breaking labor laws... YES, even in at will states!.
    Marvie, MauraRN, sharpeimom, and 2 others like this.
  6. Visit  wondern} profile page
    1
    Quote from lamazeteacher
    The "paper trail" has no value, unless the fired employee chooses to sue their employer, and even then it doesn't help. Many states adopted "at will" laws to avoid lawsuits over frivolous issues.

    Now, because of the many errors and intentional harm evidenced in our profession, that has proven its worth. It's a "no lose" situation for employers, who gleefully tell their employees that they can quit "at will", too.

    Employment law protects employee who were victimized, from vengeful managers who are forbidden to relate employees failings, to potential future employers. They cannot reach your supervisor, as Human Resources is very cautious about revealing only dates of employment, when asked for a reference. However, hospital scuttlebutt being what it is, a particularly nasty manager could fill the ears of another manager with malevolent misinformation about you, at the facility where you might want to transfer.

    You have recourse at that facility, to bring the matter before those above your manager, through Human Resources, and to the union, if you have one. If your nurse manager has persecuted anyone often, you have a chance in the "her/him or me" battle. Good luck with that.
    Thank you for listening and replying, lamazeteacher. Just something else to consider, if you do go above your manager, like to another nurse manager you respect in the hospital, just for advice, even on your lunch break, they can write you up for going out of the chain of command. That was what I was finally terminated for. She couldn't come up with anything else. She made me out to be the rude one. I felt desperate to keep my job.

    I always dreamt of a nursing union while I was being harassed, at the same time as not being given enough support to do my job. as well as I could have, that is. Even so, I still did a very good job there in the clinic as I had in the hospital my prior 13 years, without ever being written up there. Maybe, I should've never left the hospital, knowing my managers would no longer be fellow nurses. I trusted they would be professional still, I guess.



    Quote from pennyaline
    You are mistaken. In at will states, wrongful termination still exists and employers can be prosecuted for it. "Bullies and their enablers," if creating a hostile work environment, are breaking labor laws... YES, even in at will states!.
    Who do I call, please? Thank you, pennyaline, I appreciate your optimism! I always thought that myself until it actually happened to me then, there was no law to be found. I would sure like to say I could find something anywhere saying that you are indeed correct but I can't according to all the lawyers, the Tn Dept of Labor and also the TN BON. I've spoken with them all.

    Maybe, I could go after them for defamation of character and all the mental anguish they have caused me and also my family. I went through hell for ~3 of the 4 years, I was in this area. E.g. Rather than not working since, what hurts is stuff like, my sweet Grandma who was so proud of me, she died knowing her eldest grand daughter got fired from the place she loved for so many years. I guess I didn't have to tell my family. I'm just open and honest like that. I still love the idea of the large teaching hospital. I always enjoyed working with resident mds and the learning/teaching environment.

    Surprising even myself, I was able to collect unemployment for a fews months. I figured after 17 years at the same fine large magnet teaching medical center, I deserved that much. I'd never been on unemployment in my life and I'm in my late 40's. My husband told me we all pay into it from our checks every pay period.

    Do you think maybe I should've called Joint Commission or picketed. I did everything, ethical, that is, that I knew to do to save my career there. I prayed most everyday about it. I really wanted to retire there. I wanted my rocker! I didn't lay down, that's for sure. Frankly, they wore me out with all their processes and waiting games. Their peer process was not peers. It was all managers, not one staff nurse, not even all of them were from the hospital. I was sure hoping I'd walk in and their would be one of my old buds from the hospital, now a SNIII or IV, ready to give me another chance, just to get me out of that area. After all it was the manager who told me in her office, "Why don't you transfer out now while you're off PIC before I write you up again and you 'll be on PIC again and can't transfer?" I thought that was just plain mean and wrong as a manager to tell anyone that. I thought it was really unprofessional. You see, I hadn't planned on getting written up again. She did, though. I just didn't get it. What was wrong with me? She kept siding with the bully nurse in the clinic. She was my first non nurse manager come to think of it. I guess she was really trying to do me a favor. What do you think? What would you do or say if a manager told you that in her office? redbeathe:heartbeat Thanks, friend. Sorry for the thesis paper.
    Last edit by wondern on Jun 14, '09
    earthgirl56 likes this.
  7. Visit  madwife2002} profile page
    10
    We have learnt on our floor you talk to nobody not even those you think you can trust because it all gets back to the one you had hoped wouldnt get to hear about it.
    Some hospitals really do not want to hear about problems and you have to have a new way to look at things and a new approach something like
    'it is all good' Negativity even justified is not acceptable any more. Managers are using the financial crisis to make nurses fear for their jobs, I honestly believe they are using it to their advantage.
    I feel for the nurses and hospital workers who are being 'bullied' at this time by unscrupilous bosses, with no morales and will use anything to get their way.
  8. Visit  mendoza70} profile page
    2
    I took a job at St Joseph's In Bellingham WAshington on MCU under *****..
    I and been away from the bedside for three years and had been working in the clinic setting . I have been a nurse since 1976 and know alot.

    I was two weeks into my orinetation when I was told I was"not a good fit"

    In my time there I was approached by one nurse who told me to "watch out" Another nurse told me that the President was a terrorist and made racial statements. The person I was orienting under was a good technician but not a good nurse. She was dictatorial and task orientented.
    SO I say to you if You want to take a job on MCU in Bellingham WAashington, "watch out"
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 13, '10 : Reason: removed name
    cosmicsun and wondern like this.
  9. Visit  wondern} profile page
    0
    Sounds like a threat ...:trout:

    What a horrible environment to work in.
    I bet you're grateful to get out of there quickly in one way. :urgycld:

    Good luck on your search, mendoza70. You'll find some place where you and your skills will be appreciated.
  10. Visit  mendoza70} profile page
    7
    Actually Older nurses are discriminated against.. no one wants to pay the higher wages nor take on the burden of extra health care.

    Thank you for your support . I means lot
    Esme12, firedup, windjmmr, and 4 others like this.
  11. Visit  colorado nurse} profile page
    2
    I am so sorry that older nurses are discriminated agianst. i am a young nurse and i look up to veteran nurses with tons of life/work experience. you can only learn from them.
    shrinky and wondern like this.
  12. Visit  lamazeteacher} profile page
    2
    Quote from pennyaline
    You are mistaken. In at will states, wrongful termination still exists and employers can be prosecuted for it. "Bullies and their enablers," if creating a hostile work environment, are breaking labor laws... YES, even in at will states!.
    It would be interesting to see a study based on employees who return to former work sites after winning a wrongful termination lawsuit, to see what % did return to former work environments, how long they stayed, and why they left again.

    My point is, that you might win, at great personal expense, but that will further the antipathy toward you by management and those who return to their former work will sooner, rather than later lose their jobs.will find another reason their employer found to fire someone who is seen as "the enemy" for something that will stick.
    ballerina 2 and wondern like this.
  13. Visit  lamazeteacher} profile page
    1
    Quote from mendoza70
    Actually Older nurses are discriminated against.. no one wants to pay the higher wages nor take on the burden of extra health care.

    Thank you for your support . I means lot
    YOU GOT IT!!!

    The real culprit when age discrimination occurs against older nurses, is the health insurance company used there. They charge employers much higher premiums for each employee who is over 55 years old! Then, at age 65, they won't allow Medicare to be used as the primary insurer for them, charging the employer even higher premiums. So it is economically unfeasable to keep older employees!

    Go to your local EEOC department, they may have other cases similar to yours, from that hospital. They can protest the actions of the employer, and possibly pay for an attorney to prosecute for you and others who lost their jobs there.
    wondern likes this.
  14. Visit  mendoza70} profile page
    2
    it is heartening to hear so mcuh support and disheartening to see so many good nurses fall into this cat and mouse game. How did our profession get so cutthroat? JCHAO did not help that is for sure..
    wondern and lamazeteacher like this.


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