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Ex Employer Harassing Me and My New Employer

Posted

I am a hospice nurse. I am changing companies, often patients will accompany the nurse to the new company as they enjoy that nurse and the care they get from them. When I first hired on to this company they in fact encouraged me to have patients come over if they wanted to, and that it would be no problem. They fully acknowledged that patients will follow their nurses and assured me it would be okay if any followed me there.

Now that I am leaving they are stating that if a single patient transfers or leaves he will sue me personally. There are patients that want to come with me, it is their choice. I have not offered them any incentives, bonuses, money, or anything at all. Just that they would remain my patient.

I did not sign a non compete clause, but this guy is being very threatening. I told him he could sue me if he wanted, but anyone that leaves is going of their own free will. All that has occured is I told them I am leaving, they asked where to, I told them, and they asked for the number to the new place, that is it. I also told him I have no money, no properties, nothing he can attach a lein onto from a judgment, and you cant garnish wages in this state. (I recently got divorced, thats why I have nothing). I did have some patients come with me, but they signed a statement when they did come over that this was of their own free will and choice.

Anyway, there has been no coercion on my end, however when I was at a patients house I saw the company call and attempt to talk a patient into staying and telling the patient I was no longer with the company. I also had them calling telling the patients I was leaving before I left, some of the calls they made were to patients I had no intention of telling I was leaving, so when I would see them they would ask me where I was going and if they could come with me.

Also, just yesterday they called my current employer and told them that I had been soliciting patients and they had a patient that was ready to sign an affidavit that I had called them asking them to come with me. This absolutely did NOT happen. So their lawyer called and said they aren't sure if they want to sue me, or sue my new company over this. Problem is, this absolutely did NOT happen or occur in any form or fashion. I never called a single patient asking them to come with me. I didn't ask any to come with me. They wanted to. I even told them that my old company was a good place and they would be served well there.

So what are my options? I don't even know what I could be sued for. Just had the lawyer call me and tell me that I was soliciting employees to come to the new place of business I am going to. Which I absolutely have not, even then im not sure what they could actually sue me for seeing as how my state is a right to work state.

How do I get them to stop harassing me? I've not done anything out of the bounds of the law, or nothing they hadn't encouraged me to do when I signed on, which I could have several other nurses come forward and swear he told them the same thing too.

lassenlake

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 25 years experience.

You cannot stop them from communicating. If they threaten you contact an attorney. If they don't stop calling you personally file a police report.

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

I bet one call from YOUR lawyer would stop this crap

Personally, I would consult an attorney and have them send the former employer's attorney a "lawyer letter". This behavior borders on harassment. You, and your clients, do not need this. Let the attorneys deal with this in the legal arena.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

This is outrageous, and totally, totally worth a few hundred bucks to get an attorney and have him/her send a cease & desist letter to stop these communications immediately. They'll do it to the next nurse who leaves the company, too.

However, OP ... make sure all your ducks are in a row first. That you resigned and gave proper notice according to policy, completed all paperwork, returned ID badges, keys, or any other company property, etc.

Oceanpacific

Specializes in Infection Prevention, Public Health. Has 33 years experience.

I would need to know more about this situation , but what little I have heard has all my alarm bells going off. Nothing that is happening here is in the best interest of these hospice patients and their families.

These families have enough they are dealing with and should not have to become involved in additional drama.

Upon receiving your notice, your previous employer should have arranged for you and another nurse to discuss an orderly and safe handoff of your patients. Your previous employer should then have personally contacted each patient to explain how the transition to a new nurse would occur and to discuss any concerns to include if they wanted to terminate their relationship with the hospice agency.

Had this happened as described, you would have continued to provide dignified care and to reassure them that another nurse would be coming on board.

You do NOT tell patients how to contact your new employer. There is just too much potential for abuse or for planting seeds of doubt that these patients will suffer if they don't abandon ship and change their care.

Most hospice agencies have an interdisciplinary team and losing that whole team could be a terrible experience for the family.

I think you meant well, but crossed some professional boundaries. You should not be involved in telling hospice patients how to contact your new employer and to them have them signing statements (or to know they were even being asked to sign statements)that they left of their own free will. They are frightened and dying and under extreme duress. Those signed statements are worth nothing.

Your best move would be to immediately start focusing on your new position and your new patients. I would be more worried about the board of nursing than the attorney. I am sorry for your worries.

Edited by Oceanpacific
Awkward wording

Keep in mind that no matter what you do, or don't do, you will be blamed for the clients leaving. That always happens. Attempting to blackmail you and the former clients prevents the former employer from looking at why their clients would feel the need to leave. That way they do not have to change a thing.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

I totally agree with OceanPacific. Yes, it's true that patients can leave of their own free will, but OP, telling them where you're going and giving the patients the new company's contact info is really unprofessional, and I know of NO hospice company that would condone that behavior. The professional thing to do would be to reassure your patients that your replacement will continue to take great care of them.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

prevents the former employer from looking at why their clients would feel the need to leave. That way they do not have to change a thing.

They would feel the need to leave not because anything was WRONG with the previous company, but because they've formed a relationship with the nurse. But poaching patients, or doing anything to encourage them to follow a nurse to a new company is really unprofessional and definitely frowned upon in the hospice world.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Most hospice agencies have an interdisciplinary team and losing that whole team could be a terrible experience for the family.

All of them do. It's a CMS requirement.