Terminated for typing a petition

  1. Hi,
    Just want to get some feedback on losing my job. I worked in a nursing home for over 4 years. A patient asked me could I type, I said yes, he wanted me to type a petition to get another nurse back that had left or resigned her job due to continual harrassment from her supervisor. Her supervisor also is an LPN. The supervisor is black, the other nurse is white. The nurse who left had reported the other nurse several times and received no help about the harrassment. Anyway, I typed the petition off duty what he asked me to type. I gave it to him the next morning and he went around the facility all day and got over 50 signatures from other patients, staff, and family members to try to get this nurse back. The nurse was very good, lots of experience, very caring, and honest. A couple days later another LPN supervisor called me at home and said I needed to come in to a meeting to discuss what went on over the weekend. She said the company wanted it done today. When I got there, four nurses were in the room and asked me what happenned and I told them as I told you above. The DON gave me a termination paper stating I had caused a great disruption in the homelike environment and helped circulate the petition and typed it. I did type it, I did not circulate it or cause a diruption. They are the ones who caused a disruption. They want to keep this nurse, get rid of the older nurses and hire new people for her to boss. I usually get along with everyone and all the patients love me and I love them. This has really hurt me alot. Does anyone know if there is anything that can be done about this kind of treatment? I have reported it to the main office and they are doing an investigation. The Dept of Labor stated it is their company and they can do whatever they want. Now I have no job, no insurance for typing a petition to help someone else. Life doesnt seem fair sometimes. Thanks for any help you can offer.
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  2. 46 Comments

  3. by   pedinurse05
    I am really sorry about your job. I however would not have engaged in creating and supporting a petition like this (there are always two sides to every story--simply put I would have minded my own business)....this is unprofessional behavior. I would have simply told the resident that I understood his feeling but it would not be appropriate for me to type a petition regarding fellow co-workers. It is not for you to determine who was right or wrong in this mess. I would have directed his issues or concerns to the charge nurse and supervisory staff. Always remain as professional as possible and most of the time it will pay off. Unfortunately, you crossed that line and did cause some upset at the facility....you paid a pretty big price. Stay away from petty staff fights, especially those that cross between staff and residents...management needs to address these issues--unless of course it is abuse or neglect, then you are a mandated reporter. Again, I am sorry of your outcome but really this was unprofessional behavior on your part. JMHO...
    Missy
    Last edit by pedinurse05 on Dec 25, '05
  4. by   Catsmeow
    I understand your heart was in the right place, but, oh my. That employee could have been fired for any number of reasons you don't know about... failing a drug test... a mistake she's not owning up to... urgh.

    I'd just look for a new job.

    Cats
  5. by   cdsable
    This was a friend of mine also the petition was for. I was supporting the petition and I did pay a high price for it. That is the reason I typed it, I also signed it. The managers treated her terrible. I have empathy for people, I guess that's why I am a nurse. The patient is getting a lawyer for me. That's your opionion, I believe in freedom of speech for me and the patient. Thanks for your input!!
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Thing of it is, technically, you got personally involved in the whole situation, even if you just typed the paper. Unless you saw the paperwork for whom this petition was to be for, you really don't know for sure what the reason was for her leaving.
  7. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    And i really think it's a bad idea for this pt. to be getting you a lawyer. That even more personal involvement.
  8. by   sjrn85
    If you feel you need an atty., you should get one on your own. In no way should a pt. be paying for you to have an atty.

    Oy vey!
  9. by   whiskeygirl
    I would accept the referral if YOU are paying for the lawyer! It will look bad if the patient pays for the services. That may go without saying but just in case.
    It's awful that you lost yout job over this. I mean it's NOT as if you were typing it a work!!!!!
    Some states are "fire-at-will" and it won't matter much if your friend was fired due to harrassment or not.
    The only thing I would recomend is to get your RN and be the harassing LPN supervisor's boss!
    Best of luck to you!
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    If a pt pays for you to have a lawyer, that could be an offense against your state board. Most states do not allow gratuities and it could be interpreted that way. You might not be an employee now, but your relationship w/ that pt stems from a professional relationship.

    You made an error in judgement. I wouldn't compound it with a further error. You risk that facility doing more than just terminating you, but threatening your license as well by reporting you to your board.

    I can understand sticking your neck out for a friend. But sticking your neck out does indeed involve the risk of getting it chopped off.

    It's time to move on.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  11. by   Catsmeow
    Aiyee... best of luck, but my guess is you'll be considered the "author" of the document and it's probly legally "copyrighted" to you. Something else to think about, depending on the contents of the document, if you typed any slanderous comments against the supervisor you could be in a ton of hot water if it goes to court. If you mentioned harrassment, etc, and it's not proven true in court, could be big legal trouble. Getting fired could be the least of your worries in that case.. heh. Definitely consult a lawyer.

    Cats
  12. by   grandee3
    Just my opinion. Typing and signing the petition means basically you are discussing, with a patient, the performance of a fellow employee, good or bad. That is usually frowned upon in most companies.
    Maybe it's a good thing, I hope it leads to a better job for you. You could have been next on THE LIST. Seen this happening tooo often lately in nursing. New supervisor wanting to bring in their own people. What has happened to our profession?
  13. by   Daytonite
    Yikes! What a situation! Well, let me preface what I'm going to say with this, that I have been in supervision and management for some time. The first thing that crossed my mind was how much did the patient know about the circumstances surrounding your nurse friend, and just what did he put in this letter to cause such a stir? I was thinking that if he knew or has been talking with other residents about the continual harassment that this nurse experienced, how did he learn this information? The staff isn't supposed to be discussing staff issues with the patients. That, alone, is reason for an employee to get into trouble with the owners. Now, I've worked in LTC and I realize that it is a small environment and gossip does tend to get around, but I can see why the company wants to nip this in the bud. It's hard to nail down one person when it comes to blaming someone for gossip, but in helping the patient type this letter, you pretty much handed your bosses physical evidence that you helped the gossip along. Another angle to this that you may or may not be aware of is that the owners of the facility have viewed this particular patient as a troublemaker. There are ways they can get him out of their facility as well, if they want, and they can use this letter to facilitate that. I hope he hasn't been talking this whole thing up with other visitors because that will make the facility case against him even worse. So, you see, this patient may not be out of the woods himself. If I've learned anything over my years of nursing it's this: (1) don't get involved in gossip, (2) don't discuss problems that go on between the members of the nursing staff with anyone, especially patients and visitors, and especially when people quit or are fired, and (3) always be on the alert that someone is trying to manipulate you by tugging at your emotions. The first two lessons were the hardest to learn. I feel that this patient manipulated you somewhat for his own purposes. Our American heritage is to be rebellious and protect the underdog, and it is sometimes hard to stay out of a fight, but there are some fights you just can't win and this was one of them. You see, he's complaining about the way the company runs its business and as a consumer of their product his only choice is to use the services of another business. He really hasn't got a leg to stand on in defending himself here.

    Try to enjoy the remainder of the holidays, if you can, and then go job hunting after the first of the year with some newly learned lessons and a resolution not to repeat your mistakes.
  14. by   pedinurse05
    Quote from sjrn85
    If you feel you need an atty., you should get one on your own. In no way should a pt. be paying for you to have an atty.

    Oy vey!
    :yeahthat: your client should not hire you a lawyer. Your best bet is to recognize your mistakes and move on before the board takes action (ie, client getting lawyer for you). Nursing is caring--and boundaries are caring too...maintain a professional stance at all times--even when it is tough....good intentions can go bad fast.
    Last edit by pedinurse05 on Dec 27, '05

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