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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20225
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I am a Registered Nurse employed in a management/supervision

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I am a Registered Nurse employed in a management/supervision position with a large healthcare organization in a major southern city. I have been an RN for 34-years and in management for 20+ years both in various roles including at the corporate level. I was informed on Friday that I am under investigation for making derogatory remarks of a racial nature to subordinates and placed on Administration Leave. I have never had this issue whether it was Texas with predominantly Hispanic employees or with African American employees in Louisiana. In the past several months, at administration's direction, we have been trying to improve quality of care by holding staff accountable for their actions which has not always been the case in the past. A number of employees have been disciplined up to and including termination. I may be wrong, but I feel I am receiving retribution from those employees and being targeted because I am one of a handful of males working at the facility and one of three that is male, and Caucasian. The facility is staffed by 98-99% African American females. Over the years I have learned to be very careful over what I say and how I say it and feel this investigation is in response to previous disciplinary actions. I have been employed with this organization for 15 months and received and excellent evaluation and have no disciplinary actions in my file. What are my rights?

Thank you for the information and your question and I am sorry to read about your situation. You don't say whether or not you are in a union or if there is a company policy in place that give you any right to grieve or appeal an adverse employment decision by your employer, or that says you have certain rights in regards XXXXX XXXXX investigation of this nature. If there is no contract or policy that gives you more rights then, unfortunately, you have very few rights under the law in terms of participation in the investigation or appeal of the results or employer actions in response to these complaints.

To be more clear, the law does not require that employer give an employee any right to know the specifics of allegations against them, to see statements, or even to submit statements or evidence. In addition, if you are an employee "at will," which most employees in Louisiana are, your employer could ultimately let you go based on mere allegations, or for any, or no, reason as long as they weren't terminating you in violation of a contract, company policy or employment discrimination law.

All that said, if you believe that these employees have banded together to make false statements about you either because of your race or your gender, then you should file a formal statement of your beliefs with your HR or EO Department, so that is on record for them as they complete their investigation. However, as long as the employer is not targeting you because of your gender or race, then they cannot be held liable under State or Federal discrimination laws for taking an adverse action.

If you know who has made false statements of fact about you, and since you have been suspended and your reputation damaged, you could, if you choose, file suit against them for defamation of character. You would want to sit down with a local trial/litigation attorney who handles non-physical injury torts, to discuss the details and see if they think you have enough to pursue a lawsuit against these individuals.

Please let me know if you have any specific follow up questions for me. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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