Can this contract possibly be legal? - page 2

First a few background facts: I just finished my second week working in a private physician's office as a staff nurse. It is an office based surgery center and has recently added another RN and... Read More

  1. by   paigeRN1962
    I agree that the rationale behind this contract has to do with "nothing personal, it's just business." But, yes, the unprofessional way this was handled is concerning. This employer doesn't offer his employees any disability or life insurance and because this is a small office with less than 10 employees, this does not come as any surprise. Neither I nor the other RN who was hired at the same time was asked to submit to a pre-employment drug screen or physical. This has been a 1-nurse office until now with 2 MA's. My co-worker and I have refused to give any controlled substances until there is documentation in place to sign drugs out and do a daily narc count. What we've seen so far are significant discrepancies in what is charted and what is actually on the count sheet. The count sheet is something I can not make head nor tails of because they are using multi-dose vials for narcotics (given for conscious sedation, PACU). The physician and nurse have covered for each other by co-signing this sheet however this still does not reconcile where these doses of scheduled drugs went because nothing adds up. The nurse that has been in charge of carrying the narc keys seems in no hurry to do anything to change this pattern and wants to maintain the status quo because she seems to feel very threatened by the idea of 2 new seasoned nurses on board who aren't willing to jeopardize their licenses by being a part of this. I apologize for getting off the subject but obviously I am concerned about what I may have gotten into and I will not do anything which may implicate me or my license.
  2. by   RNsRWe
    I think that there are two separate issues here: whether or not you sign the contract as it is, and whether or not you choose to continue your employment at this office.

    For the former, maybe I handle things differently than other people, but this is what I'd do. First, I'd fill in the blanks myself, initial the information quite close to (touching) the data so it cannot be altered without changing the document's appearance. Second, I'd cross out anything about which I had a disagreement, and initial that as well. Obviously, and clearly. Lastly, I'd sign it, indicating near my signature "cc: Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith, Esq." and make two clear sets of copies: one for me to keep and one I'd forward to my lawyer's office for filing (if you have one, of course; if not, obviously one copy only). I'd then leave this on the supervisor's desk.

    If the supervisor looks at this closely, the changes will be obvious and she can discuss them with you. If not, and she simply files the thing, then there IS no discussion later when or if an issue about something in there arises. If you are asked when you will be getting the insurance physical, for example, you can say "I'm sorry, I decided that's not something I would do, and took that OUT of the contract I signed. I won't contract that with you". Period.

    They don't like it? They can fire you, and you go straight to lawyer's office with the paperwork; THEY'LL be in breach of it, not you. Of course, I'm not sure how it would work without the supervisor's (authorized) signature, but that's a question for the lawyer.

    Best of luck to you!
  3. by   paigeRN1962
    >THEY'LL be in breach of it, not you. Of course, I'm not sure how it would >work without the supervisor's (authorized) signature, but that's a question >for the lawyer.

    I've thought of doing this however there is a clause stating that any ammendment or modification of the agreement will only be binding if evidenced in writing signed by each party or an authorized representative of each party. There is also a statement that unless a court of law proves otherwise, "the employer and employee acknowledge that this agreement is reasonable, valid and enforceable."
    No mention was made of any written agreement when the job offer was made to me and I accepted. The other physician has not asked the nurse who was hired at the same time to sign anything like this however she is his personal nurse and as such, he pays her hourly wage. Because my clinical manager is feeding the staff contradictory information about what the doctor has told her and what the rest of us have heard and what is actually going on, I have reason to believe she is the reason behind excessive turnover. I will not be doing anything until I make an appointment with an attorney. The more I know about things, the more I know I have reason to watch my back and look for another job. For instance, no references or licenses were verified before the other nurse and I were hired.
  4. by   RobCPhT
    Um take the advice of others. I would avoid that place like the plague. There was a CSI about an employer offing contracted employees. Watch out lol. You may want to take that contract and forward it to some official office or a lawyer.
  5. by   Multicollinearity
    It sounds like you are in a right to work state. In a right to work state the employer can fire you for any reason or without any reason at any time, short of certain protected classes of discrimination. I think if you feel the need to go to a lawyer about the contract, that there is zero trust with this employer. If that is the case, it sounds like it is time to leave. I don't blame you, based upon what you have said. Your license is more important than any single job.
  6. by   Agnus
    I would take this to an attorney who specilizes in employment law if possible. Otherwise take it to a gerneral attorney. But before I did either (I am cheap and don't like paying attorneys unnessairly) I would take it to the state employement office and or the labor board and talk to someone there. They do know what is legal and not legal when it come to employment law.

    I would discuss all my concerns with any advisor.

    I would do this even before I tried to modify the contract myself so that I would be sure that I was not straying from what is legal.

    I believe you stated that the contract said that modifications had to be signed by both parties. Actually the contract it self has to be signed by both parties and so far it lacks at least one party's signature (yours)

    Of course a modification would need to be signed by both. However, I would not ever sign the one they offered you as it stands. So if you are so inclined offer an alternative contract. Or better yet you may be able to still keep your job and still not sign. You were hired without a contract. There was no mention of a contract in the hire process. even though you are at will you still have rights.

    If you are fired for not signing you may still have recourse. Check with the labor board or folks at the state employment office.

    I would certainly voice my concerns about the contract.If you are openly threatened with a fireing I would document it in detail. I would propose an alternated contract that my attorney approved. I would not sign this one without my own legal council.

    For an physician to cut and past a contract in this manor is like and attorney performing surgery on himself. JUST plain foolish. This physician is too cheap to use real legal counsel and is setting himself up for some real trouble.
    If you demonstrate that you are wise enough to use an attorney you may knock some sense in this idiots head.

    He is not a lawyer any more than an lawyer is a physician. This is how businesses get themselves in trouble. They think they can do everything themselves. A little knowledge is dangerous and this physician is playing with fire.

    I notice in you last post that no license or reference checks were done. This employer is cutting too many corners. This employer is setting itself up for a very big fall.

    Don't follow suit. Get a lawyer. ANd NEVER rely on the other guy's attorney. No matter what they say they are only looking out for the interest of the one who is actually paying the.
    Last edit by Agnus on Sep 16, '06
  7. by   paigeRN1962
    I have purposely not listed my real place of residence and changed certain identifying details to protect me and the employer's decrease chance of liability and retaliation against me. I do not wish to embarrass my employer, or jeopardize the reputation of the business or jeopardize my job until I can find another. The contract also states that should I become permanently disabled, whether physically, mentally or otherwise and unable to perform my job duties, that I will be terminated. I thought the American with Disabilities Act protected against such things and that reasonable accommodations can be requested and made. I have no disabilities at this time. But I am not sure about the legality of all this.... this is a very small office and does not accept medicare/medicaid patients and is very unregulated. Hence, I need to either resign or see an attorney ASAP.
  8. by   Multicollinearity
    The ADA only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  9. by   Agnus
    ooo, I just saw your post about the narc sheet. Give the pharmacy board a call find out who to report this too. And call them with the suggestion that it might be time to audit this office.

    When you sign out narcs you must account for every drop. But you already know this and that is the problem. If this is an inocent (and I a believeing it is) error in record keeping these folks should be able to straighten it out and provide guidance in how to keep it straight.
    Report is as simply confusing (confused) records that you can not reconcile and are requesting help in resolving so that you can comfortably start signing them.
    Discuss this with the physician not the narc nurse. If he is threatend by this then leave.
  10. by   babynurselsa
    what you could do is fill in the blanks as your were informed when you were hired. cross out the areas that differ from your inital agreement, date and intial and even in teh border state DO NOT AGREE. sign that and gove it back. Just make sure and make yourself a copy first.
    See how that works for them.
  11. by   IMustBeCrazy
    RUN DON'T WALK away from here.

    1. You have posted about having to sign a highly suspect contract.
    2. You have posted about narcotics discrepancies and poor recordkeeping.
    3. They are asking you to waive your ADA rights in employment.

    Too many red flags for me.
  12. by   Multicollinearity
    If the employer has less than 15 employees - there are no ADA rights at all. So she's not waiving that. You can't waive those rights if you are covered under the law anyway. The contract is just making it clear that she isn't covered.
  13. by   ERNP
    I have heard of taking out life insurance on business PARTNERS with benefits payable to each other, but have never heard of this practice with EMPLOYEES.

    I wouldn't sign it because having insurance on employees is not necessary. They are a necessary expense but not revenue generators in a medical practice.

    Never sign anything blank. Perhaps it was oversight. If that is the case, there should be no problem with filling in the appropriate blanks prior to signing.