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Fired for "Stealing Time" from Employer

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Hi Nurse Beth!

I've got an interesting situation going on. I was recently fired from my place of employment on 11/2019 at a major hospital system. I was salaried (non clinical position) and accused of "stealing time" from my employers despite the fact that I actually worked on the days they accuse me of stealing time.

I reported them to the Dep't of Labor(DOL) because they terminated me while I was on FMLA. The DOL is supposed to arrive to a conclusion soon to show there was either a) a violation b) non violation or c) inclusive/notice to sue. I also planned on following up with the EEOC as there was harassment involved but everything has been delayed due to COVID. During the tenure of my employment I actually went back to school and graduated nursing school. I'm currently waiting to take the NCLEX. Now I'm in a position where I'd like to work for the same company as they are one the major employers in my area.

There is no chance of me interacting with my previous HR representatives or managers but I am concerned about my record which is why I'm fighting so hard. My question is this: What should I expect from the recruiting process? Does this ruin my chances of finding work as an RN with this system? Any advice on how to fight this issue more effectively?

Dear Concerned,

If you intentionally falsified time records to get more money than you were entitled to, then that is a theft of time. It's usually not prosecuted. Employees are simply fired, as you were. 

It doesn't make sense to accuse you of stealing time on a day or days that you worked, because salaried employees are paid for the day (typically 8 hours) whether they worked 2 hours or 12 hours. 

As far as your termination status, I don't believe you have recourse. An employer can list you as a "not eligible for re-hire" as they choose. You can be right, but it may not fix anything. Even if it was a wrongful termination, it's doubtful they could be required to hire you as an RN.

It wouldn't hurt to apply, but the chances of an employer hiring you after you reported them to the Department of Labor and are considering bringing suit are slim. The most you could hope for is a 'right hand doesn't know what left hand is doing' situation, and get hired by slipping between the cracks.

So sorry this happened, especially as they are your main potential employer, but you may do best by cutting your losses and moving forward.

Good luck on the NCLEX.

Nurse Beth

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