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Fired for saying i might file safe harbor

Nurses   (7,297 Views | 61 Replies)

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Leader25 has 35 years experience.

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On 10/17/2019 at 11:01 PM, Wish4goodstaffing said:

That's what I'm trying to figure out... of my chances are good? Or who I could talk to to get some more information. I thought it was illegal for them to use that as termination?

A labor law expert not an ambulance chaser.

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Contact the Nursing Board in you state ASAP and ask them your question. 
It’s their job to help you with these issues, and they can give you actual solid advice based upon the laws of your state.  

In Texas, filing Safe Harbor is most definitely a valid defense against unsafe staffing assignments.  It’s actually your duty to file one if you feel your assignment creates an unsafe environment for your patients (and your license).  
Employers are forbidden from any type of retaliatory behavior and that protection never expires.

The problem is that you didn’t actually officially file Safe Harbor—--which I understand was probably your way of giving them a chance to correct the problem first...but I’m not sure if that action still comes with any protections.

I kept a Safe Harbor form in my bag, ready to go, just in case I needed it.  I never did, thank goodness, but I suggest if you ever do feel your assignment is too overloaded to provide safe care and your supervisor refuses to listen to your concerns, that you just go ahead and present it.  If your manager refuses to take it, s/he is in violation of the law and should be reported to your Board immediately. 

Honestly, I think you may have a case here. If nothing else, the public should be aware that you feel this facility is unsafe.   Good luck.

(here are the rules for Texas)

http://www.bne.state.tx.us/pdfs/safe_harbor_forms_pdfs/SHPR-CompRequest.pdf

 

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I agree the Texas Board holds the nurse accountable to duty to call Safe Harbor. Have had case where nurse was charged with failure to call SH though minor incidents occurred due to staffing shortage. BON will not answer your question. They might however,  investigate you. 

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10 minutes ago, guest7/31/17 said:

I agree the Texas Board holds the nurse accountable to duty to call Safe Harbor. Have had case where nurse was charged with failure to call SH though minor incidents occurred due to staffing shortage. BON will not answer your question. They might however,  investigate you. 

If true, that really sucks (for lack of a better word) and is a major blow to my faith in what the Board stands for.

Seriously, nurses are in a lose lose situation here.  I left 3 years ago, and honestly, I just don’t understand why anyone would still get into the profession as it exists today. 

Something has got to change. SMH.

 

@Wishforgoodstaffing~~
I wish you the best.  You deserve better that what you’ve been given here, but to be perfectly honest, you’ll be much better off as far away from that facility as you can get.  It’s the patients that I pity. 

That said, I would still consult a lawyer to see what your options may be.  Every application I’ve ever filled out for a nurse position has asked if I have ever been fired before.  It’s not right that you now have to put ‘yes’ due only to your concern for patient safety.  
Find someone who can help you figure this out.  Please do not let them get away with it. 
I really do feel that you have a case against them.  

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1 hour ago, guest7/31/17 said:

I agree the Texas Board holds the nurse accountable to duty to call Safe Harbor. Have had case where nurse was charged with failure to call SH though minor incidents occurred due to staffing shortage. BON will not answer your question. They might however,  investigate you. 

I've gotten responses to my questions every time I've emailed the Texas BON.

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Oh you will get a response. They will tell you there role is not to advocate for nurses but to protect the public.  They also will state they have no authority in employment issues. But my fear would be the self admission of not calling SH. Remember the Board investigates greater than 1400 nurses a year. Huge percentage proceed to formal charges. They have no oversight and deny due process of law. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 10:48 PM, Wish4goodstaffing said:

A few weeks ago I was called by a corporate nurse who verbalized I was being fired for saying i was thinking about filing safe harbor. She literally said this during my termination phone call. We had 2 cnas for the entire building and 3 nurses. My question is can I sue my former employer for wrongful termination???

An employer can fire you for pretty much any reason, unless they are breaking the law or a contract by doing so.  I dont think what they did is illegal, even tho it's unfair.

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Safe Harbor in Texas is law. Its part of the Texas Administrative Code. I posted it earlier. Board however, will not intervene. It does likely rise to the level of a civil suit. But statute of limitations at least in Texas in only 90 days. 

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15 hours ago, jinct said:

An employer can fire you for pretty much any reason, unless they are breaking the law or a contract by doing so.  I dont think what they did is illegal, even tho it's unfair.

If an employer fires you for invoking Safe Harbor, they ARE breaking the law and can be held liable in civil court.

What none of us knows for sure is whether or not this protection is in place for the OP, since she threatened to invoke SH, but didn't actually do it.

As many of us have advised, she needs to consult an attorney well versed in this kind of employment law if she wants to contest this or obtain some kind of remedy.

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On 10/18/2019 at 2:42 PM, MunoRN said:

The problem with that is refusal to perform assigned duties is insubordination, which is a legally valid basis for termination, the only exception would be if you were refusing the assigned duties because you were asked to do something illegal.

You could potentially argue that you weren't necessarily outright refusing the assigned duties, although by openly threatening to file safe harbor you also weren't exactly accepting your assigned duties.

In general though, any healthcare employer worth working for should respond non-punitively to safety concerns.

We can absolutely refuse an unsafe assignment and file safe harbor, or accept it and still file safe harbor.  Our practice belongs to us and we are ultimately responsible for it.

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Megan1977 has 38 years experience as a MSN, RN.

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On 10/20/2019 at 8:41 AM, debmomto4 said:

The point I see is that you said you were thinking of filing one. If you need to file anything like this you do not threaten them with it. You file it quietly, privately.  They know it is unsafe but by you verbalizing it and not following through, they now know you might at any time. They now see you as a threat. I know our union says. You state at the beginning of the shift - this is an unsafe assignment and I am filing a grievance and then at the end, you file. I have had supervisors then send additional staff and actually once the ADON came down and did half the assignment. 

I agree with you 100%

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Completely agree. It is unfortunate,  in order to have violated the law, SH would have had to be called. 

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