Retaliation for voicing concern over unsafe pratices - page 19

Hi, I am looking for some insight into retaliation acts by employers.I am a RN in a ICU setting at a major teaching hospital.I have been a resource to my entire unit.I received a promotion only... Read More

  1. by   Keysnurse2008
    :typing :typing
    Quote from soleilpie
    keep up the good work tnnurse! i'm on your side and will be praying for you!
    thanks....i may be needing your prayers! when i was fired for bringing forth the taboo topic of a coworker who was functioning in a unsafe manner....i thought to myself " this has to be an isolated incident in todays healthcare" .....that "...was how "naive" i was.i was deeply shocked and saddened to see how widespread this practice is.when hcf's attempt to silence employees who are speaking up to ensure that a patient's safety is not jepordized...it has to be stopped. these antiretaliation/whistleblower laws/statutes are there for a reason....and yes ....they do apply to corporate hcf's in spite of what they may/may not think!!!! every patient in every hospital bed is a person...with thoughts , memories,...personalities ..they have families, friends, neighbors...lives to live.....so we can not be threatened/terminated into silence.folks...that is just morally wrong...ethically wrong. i was excellent at my job. my nm sent me yet another email only hours before i was fired..."thanking me" for all my dedication to the nurses.she had just requested i be granted a promotion- which i of course got for my service as an excellent nurse /pt safety advocate.but then....... i did the taboo thing and reported her best friend's unsafe practices ,...after she(nm) had turned a deaf ear to numerous other nurses concerns over this nurses obvious need for orientation to protect our patient population. then poof.....after years of raise after raise,...recent promotions at the nm's request....tons of emails thanking me constatntly for my skills/service/and dedication to the patients and staff........i was fired in an attempt to discredit me and silence me.while she was busy telling me that she had her friend alter a medical record and fire me for the alterations....i was audiotaping it.she gloated while i sat there in "shock" telling me over and over "what a disappointment i was to her".she fired me in an attempt to silence me.it...........didnt work folks. people like barry adams......the nurse at norton healthcare.......all the others who have contacted me that have been the victim of retaliation for voicing concerns/exercising their legal responsibilities......the problem is huge! it has to stop.....hcf's have to realize they cant manipulate people into silence when patients are involved.that ...is ethically and morally and legally wrong!so...if this hcf does nothing they are sanctioning this nm's conduct.i was a great employee for this hospital...loved my job...and my coworkers...and my patients that i served. so....with no hx of write ups...no verbal reprimands.....nothing but glowing emails thanking me for being such a great nurses( up to hours before i was fired)...raise after raise for my strong work ethic and not to mention........the nm on audiotape telling exactly how she and her friend coerced and lied to get me fired.....ladies and gentlemen.......i am ready for a jury ! i did my job......and was fired bc i practiced by the nurses practice act.i have given this hcf's risk management and compliance office alot of info on what occurred...so lets see what they do. it will be a good case hx for other nurses perhaps.so......i will post updates as they occur! bc.....maybe it will help guide another nurse going thru the same thing....bc this has to stop folks! we have to be able to speak up as patient safety advocates without loosing our jobs!!!!!!!!!the "core/root cause analysis" of my situation is basically that i was effectively gagged from functioning as my nurse practice act demands by terminating me.it was deceitful, unethical, slanderous, and just plainly against the law folks.stronger whistleblower laws....we have to have them folks in every single state.!!!!!!!i am still just really sad that this can occur in todays society...and in a hcf like the one i worked at. it was really filled with some incredible nurses and docs....and this nm and her cohort friend was not the norm there...so it still kinda breaks my heart.but i will continue to post updates as they occur.....and yes....prayers i can use......thanks!!!
    Last edit by Keysnurse2008 on Mar 1, '06
  2. by   scampi710
    Everyone who has read this thread knows the truth of what is happening in hospitals.

    We all need to sign the petition.

    Thank you Tsunami Kim and Kim Sanders-Fisher.

    Scampi710
  3. by   rnpatrick
    You are in Texas. It has a law passed that gives nurses recourse when wrongfully terminated. You can be compinsated for losses. It is particularly good that you seem to have a good record otherwise. So your character can't be impeached. You will have to find a lawyer and have him send a letter to the institution within 60 days of the incident. Contact Stephany Tabone at the TNA for more info. I also think you should contact the state board about the incompetent nurse and the nurse manager for retaliating and protecting her. Its time bad nurse managers are held accountable. This could be the test case we all have been waiting for. We need a legal defense fund for such cases.
  4. by   TsunamiKim
    one reason hospitals act so quickly when they sense the slightest whiff of trouble, (as in honest reporting of negligence), is that they are aware of these statutes of limitations while the wronged nurse is all too often unaware. management will strike almost preemptively before you realize the danger, and then behave as if they are following normal guidelines while they deliberately stall for time. when you have a good track record you are even more vulnerable as you simply cannot believe they will get away with their dishonesty. management tends to go for the “nut case” accusation with really dedicated nurses so they can say your behavior was due to “stress” and it all sounds plausibly. the more you protest, the more obsessed and deranged they can portray you to inquiring external agencies. time and distance equals zero accountability.

    even the recourses like a compliance line and risk management, supposedly built into the system that defends our right to report negligence, are frequently designed to sabotage those efforts. they expect you to go up the chain of command first, then once that has resulted in a wrongful termination you are supposed to adhere to the hr disciplinary process next. if you follow this course of action to its logical conclusion they fire you for reporting a problem, then they take months or even years to finalize the process before you are eligible for “protection.’ then, cruel joke, you have no right to any recourse as you are no longer an employee! this was the policy of the compliance line at my former hospital.

    the statute of limitations has run out, you have sabotaged your legal options by agreeing to a corrupt arbitration hearing without being informed that it was binding and now the press are not interested because “it has been too long.” political representatives are also compelled to back off until hr has completed their dirty work and an employee discredited by dismissal is not trusted to inform public agencies of problems in an unbiased way. you are now considered a “disgruntled former employee seeking revenge!” it gets worse. approaching accreditation agencies, government agencies, nursing boards is an uphill battle that requires you to do the impossible: prove that you did nothing wrong. for some bizarre reason your hospital is able to show fabricated documents behind your back that you are bared access to; this makes it even more difficult to defend yourself as you are never quite sure what you were charged with doing. i am british and this level of corruption and injustice boggles my mind.

    when i was preparing for my arbitration hearing, my own union lawyer prohibited me from mentioning any of the numerous acts of retaliation perpetrated by my managers as he said it would prove that i was just out to get revenge! this lawyer dictated how the case would be handled; telling the arbitrator about two weeks of forced time off without pay was one of may things i couldn’t bring up. i told the union lawyer that i felt that i was going into my arbitration hearing “bound and gagged” and i only went ahead with it because the compliance line demanded that i must pursue all other recourse before they would investigate my case. guess what, they lied: the compliance line never had any intention of investigating my case.

    as if my union lawyer had not done enough damage by barring my evidence he then put an unauthorized admission of my guilt in writing no less than three times in his summation to the arbitrator which he then kept from me for over a year. i nearly bought a complaint against that lawyer with the bar association, but i was about to loose my home and everything i owned so i retreated to the uk for a well deserved nervous breakdown. it would have taken an act of god to win my arbitration case under those conditions and, in case you are wondering, no i will never trust a union or a lawyer ever again.

    the very existence of a compliance line allows a hospital to handle problems internally and keep regulatory agencies out; great for the hospital, devastating for employee protections and safe patient care. we cannot allow compliance lines to continue advertising “protection from retaliation for whistleblowers” when in reality they insist on letting management and hr chew on you and spit you out first; then they honor the corrupt self-serving decision to remove you, no questions asked! the entire hr process must be carefully monitored for fairness to insure that employees who are fired are being fired for a legitimate reason, especially when they have reported retaliatory managerial misconduct prior to being fired.

    whistleblower protections for healthcare workers need to be uniform national policies with enforceable legislation to back them up. i only hope that by forcing an investigation of how the johns hopkins compliance line covered for the hospital to secure my wrongful termination i can guilt them into making major regulatory changes. this is highly unlikely to help me with my case, but it may put pressure on hopkins to make far reaching changes through the organizations they have been so influential in creating. tangible safeguards for the future, worthwhile changes in policy; that will give me the personal achievement i long for, probably the very most i can look forward to after five years of abject misery. there are many useful links in the petition i created and i am encouraging nurses to not only sign, but leave comment about the wretched situation we are facing in us hospitals.
    to see this petition, go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/938995258
    visit the care2 site to read a personal letter of appeal from me; go to:
    http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/91853

    thanks for your support, tsunami kim.
    Last edit by TsunamiKim on May 19, '06
  5. by   rnpatrick
    301.412. Reporting Immunity.

    A person who, without malice, makes a report required or authorized, or
    reasonably believed to be required or authorized, under this subchapter:

    (1) is immune from civil liability; and

    (2) may not be subjected to other retaliatory action as a result of making the
    report.

    Sec. 301.413. Retaliatory Action.

    (a) A person named as a defendant in a civil action or subjected to other
    retaliatory action as a result of filing a report required, authorized, or
    reasonably believed to be required or authorized under this subchapter may file
    a counterclaim in the pending action or prove a cause of action in a subsequent
    suit to recover defense costs, including reasonable attorney's fees and actual
    and punitive damages, if the suit or retaliatory action is determined to be
    frivolous, unreasonable, or taken in bad faith.

    (b) A person may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or otherwise
    discipline or discriminate against, a person who reports, without malice, under
    this subchapter.

    (c) A person who reports under this subchapter has a cause of action against a
    person who violates Subsection (b), and may recover:

    (1) the greater of:

    (A) actual damages, including damages for mental anguish even if no other
    injury is shown; or

    (B) $1,000;

    (2) exemplary damages;

    (3) court costs; and

    (4) reasonable attorney's fees.

    (d) In addition to the amount recovered under Subsection (c), a person whose
    employment is suspended or terminated in violation of this section is entitled
    to:

    (1) reinstatement in the employee's former position or severance pay in an
    amount equal to three months of the employee's most recent salary; and

    (2) compensation for wages lost during the period of suspension or
    termination.

    (e) A person who brings an action under this section has the burden of proof.
    It is a rebuttable presumption that the person's employment was suspended or
    terminated for reporting under this subchapter if:

    (1) the person was suspended or terminated within 60 days after the date the
    report was made; and

    (2) the Board or a court determines that the report that is the subject of the
    cause of action was:

    (A) authorized or required under Section 301.402, 301.403, 301.405, 301.406,
    301.407, 301.408, 301.409, or 301.410; and

    (B) made without malice.

    (f) An action under this section may be brought in a district court of the
    county in which:

    (1) the plaintiff resides;

    (2) the plaintiff was employed by the defendant; or

    (3) the defendant conducts business.
  6. by   Keysnurse2008
    Quote from rnpatrick
    301.412. reporting immunity.

    a person who, without malice, makes a report required or authorized, or
    reasonably believed to be required or authorized, under this subchapter:

    (1) is immune from civil liability; and

    (2) may not be subjected to other retaliatory action as a result of making the
    report.

    sec. 301.413. retaliatory action.

    (a) a person named as a defendant in a civil action or subjected to other
    retaliatory action as a result of filing a report required, authorized, or
    reasonably believed to be required or authorized under this subchapter may file
    a counterclaim in the pending action or prove a cause of action in a subsequent
    suit to recover defense costs, including reasonable attorney's fees and actual
    and punitive damages, if the suit or retaliatory action is determined to be
    frivolous, unreasonable, or taken in bad faith.

    (b) a person may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or otherwise
    discipline or discriminate against, a person who reports, without malice, under
    this subchapter.

    (c) a person who reports under this subchapter has a cause of action against a
    person who violates subsection (b), and may recover:

    (1) the greater of:

    (a) actual damages, including damages for mental anguish even if no other
    injury is shown; or

    (b) $1,000;

    (2) exemplary damages;

    (3) court costs; and

    (4) reasonable attorney's fees.

    (d) in addition to the amount recovered under subsection (c), a person whose
    employment is suspended or terminated in violation of this section is entitled
    to:

    (1) reinstatement in the employee's former position or severance pay in an
    amount equal to three months of the employee's most recent salary; and

    (2) compensation for wages lost during the period of suspension or
    termination.

    (e) a person who brings an action under this section has the burden of proof.
    it is a rebuttable presumption that the person's employment was suspended or
    terminated for reporting under this subchapter if:

    (1) the person was suspended or terminated within 60 days after the date the
    report was made; and

    (2) the board or a court determines that the report that is the subject of the
    cause of action was:

    (a) authorized or required under section 301.402, 301.403, 301.405, 301.406,
    301.407, 301.408, 301.409, or 301.410; and

    (b) made without malice.

    (f) an action under this section may be brought in a district court of the
    county in which:

    (1) the plaintiff resides;

    (2) the plaintiff was employed by the defendant; or

    (3) the defendant conducts business.
    i have a completly clean record at this hospital, never had a verbal warning, never been written up etc etc. i was an excellent nurse at this hospital...with a deep committment to my job.i was promised a "quick"-1 month response to my dispute resolution...well that was in october 2005.i did as they asked and met with their compliance officer...their risk management dept to give a full account of this nurses actions.i was promised a quick response to my c/o retaliatory discharge.that was months ago....my attorney has now filed the begining of the many legal actions that they have forced me into.my great hope....was that this hospital would realize what had occurred after i gave them the information.i played the audiotapes of the nurse manager tripping over her lies, and making just outright easily proved lies.......i have had no response whatsoever.it is like they think i will just go away.but......i didnt just go away. my family and i have paid the huge price of this hcf's choices to attempt to silence me when i c/o a unsafe practitioner.i still.....just.....want them to do what is ethically right...legally right.so...they forced me into legal action....now they must appear before the court ( more than once) and defend the nm...who is telling lie after lie after lie that is soooo easily proved.i still hate that though...bc that nm....that unsafe practitioner is "not" what the core of that hospital represents.i feel bad that their atty will have to stand in front of a judge...and say "yes sir....well....all right...we admit that this nm lied about this....and that...and yes this too.......but cant you believe her now?"i ...just wanted to do the right thing for my patients...and my coworkers.i then followed all the steps afterward i was asked by this hcf in an attempt to rectify this unjust wrong.i will keep you guys informed.:spin:
  7. by   rnpatrick
    You are very lucky to be able to pursue legal action. That NM is a menace to the profesional as many NM are. Please report her to the state board if the ruling is in your favor. A precident must be set that incompetent NM are accountable under nurse practice acts and subject to disciplanary action. If she is purgering herself that is enough but you want to get her for work related actions.
  8. by   oktravelnurse
    I quit my position in December as I needed to work different hours so I could care for my elderly mother. I thought everything was fine. I called my former manager to inform her what a great job the staff did taking care of my mother and stated I would be ready to return the the workforce. I was informed I was at a no rehire status w/ the hospital because I left early one night after my mother had fallen. They said I refused to take a pull. The manager said it involved a supr so she would have to check into the matter. I called her back after a week and was told there was nothing she could do because it involved a supr. Then my mgr started bringing up things I had never been counseled for. I asked why these matters were not on my review. I rec'd a great review. I was a travel nurse and every year worked for this hospital for a few months. This last time I worked she contacted me while I was in Calif. This mgr had a charge nurse that was working many hours and slept on the job. The mgr was told about this and ignored it. When family members started complaining I told the house supr. I am convinced this is why I'm at a no rehire status. I told the mgr this and she denied knowing about my turning her in. (Lie) There were 2 other incidents during this past year I refused to do something because of safety issues. Nothing was said to me at the time. This mgr was blaming everthing on the supr when in reality it was her decision. She told me I could check w/ HR and see if they would hire me back but she would not hire me to work on her floor. Finally the mgr said she had to go because this was upsetting her too much. I could not file a grievance because I no longer worked there. I talked to HR and they said just because I was at a no rehire status w/ this mgr that did not mean it was like that for the other areas in the hospital. I had to get off the phone so I didn't pursue it further. I will be calling HR Monday to see exactly what my status is. Since I cannot file a grievance, I do plan to make an appt. w/ administration and advise them that this mgr knew about this charge nurse sleeping, ignored it and when it was brought to her attn again she continued to ignore it. The charge nurse has since gone to another area of the hospital. We are pt advocates and what you are describing is just wrong. Please pursue this w/ your attorney. I just hate to see people in power abuse their position. Good luck to you!
    Last edit by oktravelnurse on May 20, '06
  9. by   Keysnurse2008
    thanks....i have unfortunately been forced into legal action ...bc this hcf has not tried to remedy this.i really felt kinda betrayed by them...i gave them years of being an unblemished high performing icu rn staff nurse...then after receiving yet another email telling me "thanks" for the great job/example you set.....i complain about an unsafe rn that is endangering patients......and i get terminated.that unsafe practitioner took blank vital sign sheets that i had made as a teaching tool for new employees that i was working on...out of my workbag folder......and "according to the unit manager on audiotape she admits she knew that her friend (aka unsafe rn) actually removed those sheets in my absence and then stamped patient identifiers on it...like the mr # etc ....and then in my absence stuck them in the patients chart......and called for a house supervisor to come up and verify.....that they were in the same damn chart she ....had.....just stuck them in?" they then didnt say jack to me for the shift.....left that "alledged" vital sign sheet in a permanent chart record...and had the next shift use the vital sign sheet.....i didnt know anything until i walked in to my termination meeting hours later.it was done so slick i didnt even know what hit me. then....in my "termination interview" the nurse manager cant decide which date she wants to say this occurred on.she verbally states (on my hidden audiotape) that it occurred on a thursday,...but yet documented on my termination statement given to me it alledgedly occurred on a monday.so.....she has left that hcfs atty in the position of having to say "well judge she was lying when she wrote on the termination statement it alledgedly occurred on monday....but please believe what she says....that it alledgedly occurred on a thursday".then on tape i have provided to that hcf a copy of that exit interview where that nm states that the unsafe nurse manually placed pt identifying info on the otherwise blank sheets.also...i have examples of nurses that actually did falsify stuff in a patients mr and they didnt do anything to them....and they had "flawed" work hx (write ups in the past)...where my file is filled with promotion after promotion( raise after raise) email after email with "thanks..what a great leader you are etc etc".still...i just want that hcf to do what is right.bc ...what they allowed to happen to me.....wasnt just unethical and unsafe.....it was very much illegal.so...now....there will be court documents that will contain a legal record for the next nurse too that this happens to at that hcf...that they knew this nm"s integrity was nill and that she was a liar,deceitful and just would do about anything legal or illegal to manipulate events to her desired outcome."that" is what will be available for public viewing...bc.....i have probably 30 copies of that audiotape now. i will pass them out like they are candy at halloween bc the public places a great deal of faith/trust in their hc providers...and what this nm did.....to disregard pt safety issues......and attempt to silence me by terminating me.....is illegal and a straightforward example of violation of that patient and their families trust.it is wrong...in so many ways.......and my family and i have paid dearly finicially for that nm's illegal actions. more and more nurses are making hcfs answer in court when they try these illegal tactics....and i am sadly yet another one.everyone needs to remember ....every patient lying in that bed....is someone's mother , brother, father, sister, child, friend.....they are someone to "somebody"...and we have a legally defined obligation to attempt to ensure their safety.
    Last edit by Keysnurse2008 on May 20, '06
  10. by   gauge14iv
    That NM and her co-hort would have already been reported to the board for falsifying patient information if it were ME in this situation.
  11. by   Keysnurse2008
    Just giving an update on my case:
    1. I received some of the healthcare facilities "alleged" proof that I allegedly documented vital signs early.....would you like to know what it looked like?
    It was a blackened sheet of paper with no visible writing on it.
    2.Their investigators even said it had no visible writing on the form.
    3.I was fired only hours after complaining about the unsafe practices of a coworker (nurse manager s best friend)in a large ICU that resulted in what I'd call a sentinel event...in a effort to silence me they tried to "find" a reason to fire me.
    4.The only document they did provide me with that actually had some of my writing on it that is "not" showing any s/s of precharting...has even been tampered with...someone has made very poor elaborate attempts to change my writing in a ink that is not the same as what I'd charted in all day...on the day in question.
    5.The coworker has tried to make coworkers lie and say they saw an original that had my writing on it showing I precharted something.....and everyone is saying "no way...we never saw what you are describing"...not backing the unsafe coworker.
    6.When my attorney requested a copy of the alleged peice of paper that supposedly showed predocumentation ....so that we could have the handwriting analyzed.....it became "mysteriously missing".
    7.I have been put thru hell bc of my strong ethical belief that patient's in the ICU where I work.....should always have safe, competent , skilled nsg care.And now.....they "mysteriously loose" the very peice of paper that was so grand that it allegedly cost me my job...my family their insurance and benefits.that is wrong!!!!
    8.The only shred of paper they have(the hospital)with visible writing on it.....regarding the alleged date in question that I was fired over.....shows only the unsafe coworkers handwriting as she/he..... at 5 am ....preforward documented the patient's weight 2 hours ahead of time. It in no way has my writing on it.
    9. Mt atty is still trying to give the healthcare facilities atty a chance to make this very "wrong" thing right again......the atty seemed absolutely shocked the other day at what we showed them.This act by that unsafe coworker didnt represent the "core" of what that hospital was about. Most nusrses there are good, honest, skilled.....not underhanded and devious and downright dangerous like this one was.
    10. In the months since I complained about this nurse not being healthy enough to work....he / she....has had a massive cva.Ended up in the same icu where we worked together at. Maybe they will listen next time.
    11. This will be a good case for everyone to hear about...my end leagal results I mean.....bc....I am in hopes it will show that the trend is continuing to be "for" nurses who actively promote patient safety.
    12...wish me luck.....bc ......I just want them to do what's "right" ya know.......thats all I ever wanted.
    6.
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you for updating us.
    I think you will prevail.
    You are in my prayers.
  13. by   fotografe
    Never mind. I read the entire thread and realized it was dealt with. Good luck with this!
    Last edit by fotografe on Aug 15, '06

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