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I am an RN and was terminated with prejudice from my employer

after complaining about electrical dangers...
I am an RN and was terminated with prejudice from my employer after complaining about electrical dangers in the building, failing to provide mandatory minimum staffing levels, others forging medication entries that had not been given, and my illegal hoarding of keeping pharmaceuticals and controlled drugs after patients were being taken off of them (they're supposed to be returned to the pharmacy). Several employees had told me "they're monitoring you for any reason, look out".
I was terminated Friday.
Is there recourse?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
7/22/2013
Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
Verified

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Just to be clear, you were terminated for 'illegal hoarding' of medication, correct? And that is something you were really doing, or is that something the employer created as a false reason? I ask because regardless of issues you have with the employer, for you to claim that the employer wrongfully terminated you ostensibly for 'retaliation' you must show that they had no legal basis to terminate you at all. So if there was indeed hoarding going on which the employer ended up finding out, they could indeed terminate you 'for cause' and their violations would not matter since that would not be part of your termination. In essence that violation (or those violations) would be a separate cause of action that you would need to bring against them, but it would not reverse or invalidate the termination because that would still be done properly. My apologies on the likely unwelcome news, but I am purely going by the facts you provided--if you are 'at-will' and the employer found a legitimate reason, they could indeed use it against you.

Good luck.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

No, I was not hoarding medications, the manager was. I discovered that she was then she terminated me for "other" reasons. I am in North Carolina. A right-to-work state with little recourse. I was complaining about the work environment that OTHER nurses were doing or not doing. My facility is required to have minimal staffing for the type of patients we serve. We were always below quota.


I was fired for "failing to adhere to the physician order for catheterizing a patient (non medical) as dictated"

Chris,

Ahh, now I see--sorry for my misconception, I misread the post. Did you 'fail to adhere' or was that also a false claim on part of the employer?

 

Did you ever, at any time, make complaints to the state board of nursing or other agencies about the conditions?

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I did not complain to board of nursing, but I suppose I can now. The "did not adhere to doctor order" were inflated. The doctor himself said my method was acceptable, but my manager said "but at the time you didn't know that". What I did was acceptable protocol but she used it as a reason to get rid of me.


I found out today that they were told to monitor me, even phone calls. So I am interpreting that as it was a personal reason, or maybe they felt I was complaining to agencies.


 


Now that I'm fired, and really can not get my job back in a right to work state that I live in, what agencies can report their infractions to?


While I would LOVE to know the reason they pushed me out, I can only speculate that it is because I am the only male nurse, the only gay nurse, and they only well-liked nurse by the majority of staff. This is a HIGHLY religious area of North Carolina, so it may be a factor.


 


One question: I have an appeal to try to get my job back which is "internal administration appeal" and by the director of the facility who had me fired. CAN I SAY "Just pay me a one month severance which is the equivalent to my vacation time which you took from me by firing me and screwed me out of AND I wont tell DSS, OSHA, LABOR BOARD and FIRE MARSHALL of the numerous infractions such as........... And we'll never see each other again".



How can I word that to my advantage? I would have gotten my 1 month severance had I resigned anyway.


 


 

Thank you for your follow-up, Chris.

That changes the situation drastically. If your procedure was borderline permitted, or if it was never expressly listed as forbidden, then you can legitimately argue that the termination was retaliatory in nature and consequently invalid. Typically for retaliation to take place you must show that it is based on factors such as your age, gender, race, religion, national origin, or disability if any. Sometimes, rarely, it can also include 'whistleblowing' but you must likewise show that you actually made calls or contacted others due to their behavior. This is why I asked if you contacted third parties. Contacting them now will absolutely not hurt, and you could still contact the EEOC directly to claim that this was 'wrongful termination' on basis of retaliation, it just weakens your claim somewhat as you did not make the claims early. but there is the basis for an argument that you were terminated because the employer was aware you were planning on making a report.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
Verified
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Dimitry K., Esq.
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Satisfied Customers: 41,221
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