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Paid minimum wage for quitting

Saraliz Saraliz (New) New

Hi everyone! I am a new nurse and started a new job at a nursing home. I lasted 2 months and 3 weeks. It was the most awful place ever. I cried when I got home, I am not normally a crying person and was very anxious all the time. I was blamed for missing narcotics (which I felt I was setup for being the new person). Most people that worked there openly said they hate it, people called off all the time, always short staffed because of that. I was put by myself and given 40 patients most nights. I felt unsafe, felt like I could not safely care for my patients and felt like I could lose my license because of this. Management acts like it is the best place ever and does not care about anything but money. They lie about everything. I ended up quitting over the phone after an awful midnight shift. I did not give 2 weeks notice, I felt my safety  (and sanity) was more important. Fast forward to my last paycheck....I was paid minimum wage for my last 2 weeks. I called HR and she cheerfully told me that since I did not give 2 weeks notice, I forfit all of my 16 hours of vacation I earned, and I only get minimum wage. I was told I signed a paper and agreed to that (which I do not remember, but asked for it to be mailed to me). I was also told to sign a paper saying that I read and understood the handbook, which we were to read on our own time. I did not even complete my orientation 90 days, I feel like I deserve to have my nursing pay even though I did not give 2 weeks notice. I am still waiting on copies of papers I signed during the "missing narcotics" incident that I want to have so if a future job asks about this horrible job, I can show them what was going on. I feel like if I ever get another interview with a hospital, they will call this horrible place, and I will be portrayed as a bad nurse, or a narcotics thief. I am considering small claims court, or possibly a free lawyer consult to see what my options are. The more I look into this company, the more horrible things I am hearing about it. I would love to report this to someone, but who is going to listen to me, I will probably be seen as a disgruntled employee. Please help me! I worked my butt off for this place and tried so hard to take care of my patients the way I believe they should be taken care of. I am being treated horribly now and my requests for copies of paperwork are ignored. They owe me almost 1000$. I am so upset and feel like nobody cares or will listen. First nursing job = failure.....

EDNURSE20, BSN

Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op.

Let it go. You are out if there. 

yes loosing the money is awful, but would of you rather worked an extra 2 weeks to get it all? Like you said your safety and sanity is worth more. 

also don’t bother with lawyers and small claims court, lasting 2 months in your first job is a bad look already, add lawyers onto the mix and no body will want to hire you. When new employers find out they’ll be hesitant to hire you, because they don’t want to deal with the same drama. 
 

start looking for a new job, only tell them that the first job was not a good fit. Bad mouthing them only makes you look bad. 

Sorry to hear of your terrible experience. It sounds brutal.

Learn what lessons you can from this. For example, being scapegoated or otherwise lied about with regard to handling of controlled substances = time to get help if needed and don't step foot into the place again. That is nothing to mess around with.

Not sure of the best thing to do here; personally I would be more concerned about what is happening with the narcotic accusations than the $1000 you are owed.

2 hours ago, Saraliz said:

Hi everyone! I am a new nurse and started a new job at a nursing home. I lasted 2 months and 3 weeks. It was the most awful place ever. I cried when I got home, I am not normally a crying person and was very anxious all the time. I was blamed for missing narcotics (which I felt I was setup for being the new person). Most people that worked there openly said they hate it, people called off all the time, always short staffed because of that. I was put by myself and given 40 patients most nights. I felt unsafe, felt like I could not safely care for my patients and felt like I could lose my license because of this. Management acts like it is the best place ever and does not care about anything but money. They lie about everything. I ended up quitting over the phone after an awful midnight shift. I did not give 2 weeks notice, I felt my safety  (and sanity) was more important. Fast forward to my last paycheck....I was paid minimum wage for my last 2 weeks. I called HR and she cheerfully told me that since I did not give 2 weeks notice, I forfit all of my 16 hours of vacation I earned, and I only get minimum wage. I was told I signed a paper and agreed to that (which I do not remember, but asked for it to be mailed to me). I was also told to sign a paper saying that I read and understood the handbook, which we were to read on our own time. I did not even complete my orientation 90 days, I feel like I deserve to have my nursing pay even though I did not give 2 weeks notice. I am still waiting on copies of papers I signed during the "missing narcotics" incident that I want to have so if a future job asks about this horrible job, I can show them what was going on. I feel like if I ever get another interview with a hospital, they will call this horrible place, and I will be portrayed as a bad nurse, or a narcotics thief. I am considering small claims court, or possibly a free lawyer consult to see what my options are. The more I look into this company, the more horrible things I am hearing about it. I would love to report this to someone, but who is going to listen to me, I will probably be seen as a disgruntled employee. Please help me! I worked my butt off for this place and tried so hard to take care of my patients the way I believe they should be taken care of. I am being treated horribly now and my requests for copies of paperwork are ignored. They owe me almost 1000$. I am so upset and feel like nobody cares or will listen. First nursing job = failure.....

Laws vary from place to place, and I have no idea where in the world you are. The retro-active pay decrease sounds to be on the wrong side of things, though. I'd be contacting the labor board and running that by them- assuming there is a labor board where your at. Vacation time is a little trickier, and it's not uncommon to lose that for various reasons.

As for the narcotic allegations, that can turn into a very serious issue very quickly. Definitely write down anything and everything that you can remember about the situation. If anything comes of it, consult with a lawyer who specializes in board of nursing issues immediately.

 

Missing narcotics and papers you signed regarding that issue is the only important thing in this whole debacle. What papers did you sign? How many instances of missing narcotics? Did they report it to the board or the DEA? There are several other questions that are much more important than that $1000. Take the money issue as a loss and focus on the dangerous elephant in the room, the missing narcs.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

In the US, State labor laws trump an employers handbook.

Nothing to loose by contacting them re wage discrepancy: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/state/contacts

Others have offered good advice.  You now know what to look for in a new employer; read the handbook before signing acknowledgement.

Best wishes moving forward.

If you don’t get the pay, you’re out some money, but if you are successfully blacklisted, your career could take a hit for years to come. Imagine finally getting nursing work perhaps years later and then still facing requests for explanations that don’t result in a new job offer. It does happen. You need to focus on the missing narcotics allegations.

5 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

Laws vary from place to place, and I have no idea where in the world you are. The retro-active pay decrease sounds to be on the wrong side of things, though.

I've seen that clause before when I worked for a brief time at a SNF. They made it clear, if you didn't give a 4 week (!) notice they docked you back to minimum wage for your last check. You  had to sign paperwork that you read and understood the Policies and Procedures when you hired on so they really had you boxed in.

I got around that by going to contingent then just didn't pickup up any shifts.

Like the other posters have said, forget the wages you lost.  I'd be far more concerned about the narcotics allegation.  That could bite you in the behind and jeopardize your license.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

Sorry you had such a crappy first nursing experience.

1.  Write down everything you remember about that place.  Date the paper with the current date and keep it with your important papers.  You probably won't ever need it but just in case.

2.  If you don't receive any of the requested paperwork in the next 2 weeks, write them a letter requesting copies of it.  Send it registered, return receipt requested,in case they try to claim they never received it. Keep a copy of your letter, as well as the receipts from the post office.

3.  Do check with the labour board about the lost wages.

4.  Find a new job (in a better place) as soon as you can.  I'm betting all the local employers know what a pit that first place was.  They have probably hired previous nurse-escapees.

When they ask why you left your previous job: "As a new grad I needed more support and was constantly worried about my ability to practice safe care." If it comes up about the narc count: "I was meticulous about medication administration and documentation.  When someone messed up the narc count and started looking around for scapegoats, it was the last straw."  Make firm eye contact and speak in a calm voice if you have to discuss this matter.

The sooner you start a new job the sooner you can resume building your nursing reputation.  If the Board ever does get involved it will likely be months from now.  They'll want to know how your current job is going and that will be significant factor.

Take a breath.   Your only real mistake was accepting a job from an unscrupulous employer.  You will land on your feet.

Lovethenurse2b25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CCRN, Geriatrics.

Nursing homes are not for everyone, and some facilities are better than others. My first nursing job was at a horrible run down facility I left after a month for various reasons but the most important thing was safety. AfterI landed a better job with great pay and nice staff. The new employer didn’t even ask about the other job. Take it on day at a time. The nursing world is small, next time leave on a good notice. 

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

On 7/8/2020 at 7:53 PM, Saraliz said:

Hi everyone! I am a new nurse and started a new job at a nursing home. I lasted 2 months and 3 weeks. It was the most awful place ever. I cried when I got home, I am not normally a crying person and was very anxious all the time. I was blamed for missing narcotics (which I felt I was setup for being the new person). Most people that worked there openly said they hate it, people called off all the time, always short staffed because of that. I was put by myself and given 40 patients most nights. I felt unsafe, felt like I could not safely care for my patients and felt like I could lose my license because of this. Management acts like it is the best place ever and does not care about anything but money. They lie about everything. I ended up quitting over the phone after an awful midnight shift. I did not give 2 weeks notice, I felt my safety  (and sanity) was more important. Fast forward to my last paycheck....I was paid minimum wage for my last 2 weeks. I called HR and she cheerfully told me that since I did not give 2 weeks notice, I forfit all of my 16 hours of vacation I earned, and I only get minimum wage. I was told I signed a paper and agreed to that (which I do not remember, but asked for it to be mailed to me). I was also told to sign a paper saying that I read and understood the handbook, which we were to read on our own time. I did not even complete my orientation 90 days, I feel like I deserve to have my nursing pay even though I did not give 2 weeks notice. I am still waiting on copies of papers I signed during the "missing narcotics" incident that I want to have so if a future job asks about this horrible job, I can show them what was going on. I feel like if I ever get another interview with a hospital, they will call this horrible place, and I will be portrayed as a bad nurse, or a narcotics thief. I am considering small claims court, or possibly a free lawyer consult to see what my options are. The more I look into this company, the more horrible things I am hearing about it. I would love to report this to someone, but who is going to listen to me, I will probably be seen as a disgruntled employee. Please help me! I worked my butt off for this place and tried so hard to take care of my patients the way I believe they should be taken care of. I am being treated horribly now and my requests for copies of paperwork are ignored. They owe me almost 1000$. I am so upset and feel like nobody cares or will listen. First nursing job = failure.....

This is despicable. I'm so sorry they did that to you. I hope you win in small claims court and you get punitive damages. That is abuse. 

Drop the money discussion. It really sucks and it isn’t fair, but sometimes that is how life is. 
Do NOT drop the “missing narcotics” thing. Go there in person, tomorrow, and ask to sit down with the manager or whomever it is that has info on that. Go over every paper until you are satisfied. Because otherwise you’re right— a future employer is going to call them for a reference and they’ll say “Well she quit rather suddenly and we noticed narcotics were missing at the same time.” 

19 minutes ago, CommunityRNBSN said:

Drop the money discussion. It really sucks and it isn’t fair, but sometimes that is how life is. 
Do NOT drop the “missing narcotics” thing. Go there in person, tomorrow, and ask to sit down with the manager or whomever it is that has info on that. Go over every paper until you are satisfied. Because otherwise you’re right— a future employer is going to call them for a reference and they’ll say “Well she quit rather suddenly and we noticed narcotics were missing at the same time.” 

And then with nothing reported and no paper trail she sues them and wins.

But anyway, about the pay, if you already worked the hours, it's illegal to only pay you minimum wage in most states.  And state law takes priority over any agreement that you made.  So if it was illegal to lower your pay after you worked the hours, they'll be mailing you a check after you report them.  Just make sure to call your department of labor tomorrow and ask about if they were allowed to do that.  Make sure you specifically say that your pay was cut for hours you already worked.  You cannot agree to something illegal.  Even if you sign a contract.  State law takes priority.

Don't listen to the people saying not to stand up for yourself.  If you need a lawyer, get one.  They're not going to tell a job that calls them that you took them to court.

If you can't stand up for yourself being accused of letting drugs go missing, or you can't stand up for yourself not being paid what you agreed to, you're going to get walked all over for your entire career.

And for applying for jobs, leave all of that out.  You quit voluntarily and leave it at that.  Don't say anything else.  If they ask you about it, listen to the advice TriciaJ gave you.  Don't bring up the narcotics.  The ONLY time you should talk about what happened is if they somehow already know about it and ask you.  If there's nothing filed with your state board, or police, it never happened.  If it's true that you had nothing to do with it, they know that reporting it to the state is going to end up leading to them getting counter-sued by you and getting in a ton of trouble and easily getting some negative press.  Most jobs, even if they fire you, they don't confirm how your employment ended.  If you just quit, odds are all they're going to do is say that yes, you worked there during those dates.  HR departments are VERY careful when they confirm employment, because if what you were fired for wasn't true, they just opened themselves up to be paying you a good amount of money in court.  Until it's reported, you never stole those narcotics.  And knowingly reporting you when you didn't steal them is libel and it's illegal.  Relax.  They need to be able to build a case that you were the one who did it.

obtain nursing malpractice insurance immediately. see if you can do a free initial consult with a lawyer who is familiar with nursing board regulations,even if its a phone or email interview.Go have a hair follicle drug tested completed. I know you might not thing you need it but believe me,if you get reported to the board you will need it.

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