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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32818
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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My daughter is a RN. In North Carolina. She has been

Customer Question

My daughter is a RN. In North Carolina. She has been employed by a local hospital in the emergency department for six. Years. In that time she has never received a patient complaint or counseling related to the performance of her duties regarding patient care. Last week, she was accused by a patient of diverting their pain medication. She was escorted off her unit at the end of her shift in full view of her co-workers by a security guard and member of management. She was searched and given a urine drug screen and told that she was suspended until the results of the test came back. If negative, she was told she outdoor return to work and would be eligible for back pay for the days missed during the suspension and it would be removed from her record. Yesterday, she was informed the drug screen was negative. Today, she was contacted by the hospital and called in for a meeting with nursing administration. After questioning her again about the incident, which she again stated her innocence and in spite of the negative drug screen she was told she would be terminated. One supervisor even made the comment that he "felt like she was doing something at home". She has never been reported as being impaired on the job. She was also told that" she couldn't prove she hadn't diverted the drugs" in spite of the drug screen to the contrary. She was also informed that she would be reported to the Board of Nursing. This seems insane to me. My daughter has FMLA and has had to use this to cover absences related to the health of her six year old daughter and I believe that she has been singled out for termination based on her use of FMLA to care for her child. We will begin the hospital appeal process on Monday for wrongful termination. She does not want to return to work in this environment but does not want the termination listed on her resume or feel that a report to the Nursing Board is in any way warranted as she has disproven the false accusations of the patient with the negative drug test. Ant suggestions or comments you may have would be much appreciated. Sincerely, ***** *****
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 months ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help

Also, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen.
I am sorry for this dilemma. But not sure I understand your specific question. Do you have a question regarding this?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Given the circumstances, do you think there may be grounds for an unlawful termination suit and should we hire a local attorney?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 months ago.

Thank you...can you tell me, is she a member of a labor union?

And why do you believe this was "wrongful"?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No, Nurses are not unionized here in NC. I believe her termination was wrongful because she submitted voluntarily to a drug screen at the time of the incident and the results of the drug screen were negative for any opiates or any other illegal drugs. She was told by her supervisor at the time of the incident that if the results of the drug screen showed no signs of illicit drugs, she could return to her job and would be paid for the time she was forced to be off from work. Instead of allowing her to return to her job, she was terminated.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 months ago.

Thank you very much

I asked about union because NC is an "at will" state for employment law matters...In an "at will" employer/employee relationship, either side can end the relationship (the employer can fire the employee or the employee can quit) "at will".

As an "at will" employee your options her limited. The employer can fire for a good reason, or no reason at all. The only thing that they can not do is fire for a "bad" reason. A "bad" reason would be if they fired based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion or gender some other protected class.

Here, if they fired you because they believed she used illegal drugs...even if they were wrong? That still would not be a basis to sue...since they can fire for no reason at all.

So I do not believe she has ground for a wrongful termination suit

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that she can sue over this, but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!
Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.