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Fired Out of the Blue

RNOracle RNOracle (New) New

RNOracle specializes in Primary/Urgent, L&D, OR.

Hi everyone,

I need some advice/insight.

For the past 3 months I have been happily employed with an independently owned minor med clinic chain where I was responsible for everything from patient care to employee training. My most recent performance evaluation 10 days ago was stellar, and I was frequently complimented on what a good job I was doing by the owner.

3 days ago, one of the providers called me at home and said that there had been a complaint from a patient about me. Apparently, this patient allegedly overheard me using profanity. As it was explained to me, the incident didn't take place during the course of patient care and was not related to patients whatsoever. This person just claimed to have overheard "profanity." The provider was informing me that the owner said this was grounds for termination, and that I was to turn in my security card and come in and sign exit papers.

I was incredibly shocked because 1) I don't use profanity in the workplace and 2) it seemed beyond me that the first and only complaint against me would result in my termination. I requested more information regarding the incident, but the provider couldn't give me any other than a patient claimed they overheard me use profanity, and for that I no longer had a job.

I'm completely flummoxed because I have no knowledge of the alleged remark. I wasn't even told what I supposedly said or when, so I've been wracking my brain thinking about what I consider profanity and what I do not consider profanity, and it still is beyond me because none of those words are part of my vocabulary in a professional setting.

I attempted to reach the owner of the clinic via phone several times before finally going in and signing my "exit papers" not before including in my comments section that no details of the incident had been provided and no opportunity for improvement had been offered.

It really began to eat at me, so I decided to email the owner, and I basically told her that I was incredibly insulted by how she chose to handle this situation and that she should have come to me with this issue and gone from there rather than tossing me aside without a second glance. She emailed back saying she'd like to meet with me, and I don't quite know what to make of that. I love the work I do and the people with whom I work - I wouldn't have bothered with trying to communicate with the owner if I didn't.

I guess what I'm asking is how do I proceed? This isn't the most ideal time of the year to be without a job and I really love my job, so it really pains me to have to leave it. I'd prefer to keep my job despite the bad taste I have in my mouth for the company now, but should I just cut my losses and go, or put up a fight for my job? And if I fight, how do I convey my concern and ask for repentance for something I'm not aware happened? It's not outside the realm of possibility that in the break room or on my way to my car I could have said something like "damn" or "hell", but I have no memory of anything like occurring, and I have no qualms with expressing regret and apologizing, but I just don't know how to approach it. Has anyone else been in such a situation?

Are you going to seek legal counsel? I probably would. You should not take being railroaded lightly.

RNOracle specializes in Primary/Urgent, L&D, OR.

Should I seek legal counsel? Ours is an "at-will employment state". Either party can terminate the employment relationship for any reason at any time (as I understand it).

TheCommuter specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

They terminated your employment as you approached your 90th day with the company. This is common, unfortunately. They used a possibly trumped-up excuse to rid themselves of you. Regardless of the glowing reviews, the owner was not that into you. It seems as if the owner was the one who wanted you gone.

If the separation of employment took place on or before the 90th day of employment, there is not much you can do. The first 90 days is usually the probationary period in which the company can terminate your employment for any reason and/or you can resign for any reason.

My advice is to dust yourself off, move on, and throw yourself full-force into the hunt for a new job. Good luck to you!

Should I seek legal counsel? Ours is an "at-will employment state". Either party can terminate the employment relationship for any reason at any time (as I understand it).

Since that is the case, your next step is to find a new job. You will only need legal recourse if you find out that the employer is wrongfully blacklisting you. Hard to substantiate that since they have a record of the patient complaint. Good luck.

OCNRN63 specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

Do you really want to work for someone who would treat you like this? Think about it. Are you ever going to feel safe as an employee there again?

My personal take is this employer did you a favor by cutting you loose before you really became invested in the job. It hurts to be fired. I've been there; got fired from a job I really liked and thought I was doing well. It was the best thing that happened to me in the long run, because the hospital was taken over by another entity, and the department I worked for was closed.

Only you can decide if you want to go back there, but if you do, I would try to have a back up plan in mind.

Tenebrae specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

Do you have a union?

In NZ an employer would not be able to get away with this

Hi everyone,

I need some advice/insight.

For the past 3 months I have been happily employed with an independently owned minor med clinic chain where I was responsible for everything from patient care to employee training. My most recent performance evaluation 10 days ago was stellar, and I was frequently complimented on what a good job I was doing by the owner.

3 days ago, one of the providers called me at home and said that there had been a complaint from a patient about me. Apparently, this patient allegedly overheard me using profanity. As it was explained to me, the incident didn't take place during the course of patient care and was not related to patients whatsoever. This person just claimed to have overheard "profanity." The provider was informing me that the owner said this was grounds for termination, and that I was to turn in my security card and come in and sign exit papers.

I was incredibly shocked because 1) I don't use profanity in the workplace and 2) it seemed beyond me that the first and only complaint against me would result in my termination. I requested more information regarding the incident, but the provider couldn't give me any other than a patient claimed they overheard me use profanity, and for that I no longer had a job.

I'm completely flummoxed because I have no knowledge of the alleged remark. I wasn't even told what I supposedly said or when, so I've been wracking my brain thinking about what I consider profanity and what I do not consider profanity, and it still is beyond me because none of those words are part of my vocabulary in a professional setting.

I attempted to reach the owner of the clinic via phone several times before finally going in and signing my "exit papers" not before including in my comments section that no details of the incident had been provided and no opportunity for improvement had been offered.

It really began to eat at me, so I decided to email the owner, and I basically told her that I was incredibly insulted by how she chose to handle this situation and that she should have come to me with this issue and gone from there rather than tossing me aside without a second glance. She emailed back saying she'd like to meet with me, and I don't quite know what to make of that. I love the work I do and the people with whom I work - I wouldn't have bothered with trying to communicate with the owner if I didn't.

I guess what I'm asking is how do I proceed? This isn't the most ideal time of the year to be without a job and I really love my job, so it really pains me to have to leave it. I'd prefer to keep my job despite the bad taste I have in my mouth for the company now, but should I just cut my losses and go, or put up a fight for my job? And if I fight, how do I convey my concern and ask for repentance for something I'm not aware happened? It's not outside the realm of possibility that in the break room or on my way to my car I could have said something like "damn" or "hell", but I have no memory of anything like occurring, and I have no qualms with expressing regret and apologizing, but I just don't know how to approach it. Has anyone else been in such a situation?

TheCommuter specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

Do you have a union?
Since the OP mentioned that he/she is in an at-will employment state, I can be fairly certain that the former workplace was not unionized.

Caffeine_IV specializes in LTC, med/surg, hospice.

You can meet with her if you just want some closure but I wouldn't want to work for them. I wouldn't trust them after that. I've been fired before and it sucks. So I understand that feeling.

It was more than likely prior to a 90 day period that would be considered "probationary".

They could get 2 of you for what they were paying you. Now that you did a stellar job, organized everything, got their staff educated and in a good place, got their procedures organized....in other words, now that you have got all their ducks in a row, they can hire someone (or two) who is not a BSN for a lot less than what they are paying you to continue what you have started.

But that is sometimes hard to swallow if you have a stellar performance review. (and BTW IF you meet with the owner, I would ask for a copy of this if you don't have one to be able to use it for job searching). I am not sure what it will do for you to re-hash this out with the owner. They are being tight lipped about the specifics, and will more than likely continue to be so. If you feel as if given the choice to resign is better for you, then I would ask if this is an option. But be sure that you look into unemployment specifics first if this is something you would like to pursue.

Many times in situations like this, especially following a stellar review, it is regarding the big picture (money) as opposed to the foolishness that is cooked up .

"I was hired to organize procedure, educate staff, and received a stellar review for doing so. At that point, I no longer met the needs of the facility."

Best wishes going forward.

Wile E Coyote specializes in Critical care.

Lacking the other side of this story, the already outlined scenario of using you to square them away and then replace you for someone cheape, unfortunately sounds likely.

Altra specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

What did the "exit papers" you completed say? Do you have a copy? To whom in the company do you report? Who completed the performance evaluation 10 days ago? Is the provider who phoned you your supervisor? That would be unusual in a chain urgent care setting, but it's not impossible. If you do not report to this provider, what is his/her role in your discipline process?

I agree with other posters that the fact that this occurred as you were approaching the 90-day mark may be telling, and the company has no legal obligation to provide you with much of an explanation.

I would take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the owner. But for meaningful dialogue you will need to focus your attention and conversation on the chain of events that have occurred related to your employment, not hurt feelings over perceived unfairness.

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