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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Isn't there some kind of 'ladder' followed action? I am a

Customer Question

Isn't there some kind of 'ladder' followed for disciplinary action? I am a nurse who refused to take a patient I did not feel qualified to care for (he was out of my area of specialty and I wanted some assurance that my license was covered). My boss came and talked with me and told me how I should have handled the situation. I apologized and agreed I would handle things in that manner in the future. The following week I was brought in with my boss and a HR person and written up. Can they do that---go from verbal to written for the same offense. Also, from what I have read, when bringing in an employee for a disciplinary action, it is suppose to be set for a reasonable time in a reasonable place. Is that correct? I was brought in directly coming off a 12 hour night shift with the expectation of returning for another 12 hour night shift after this meeting. All though that is considered a reasonable time by most people, I felt at a distinct disadvantage just coming off a long draining shift, and having to return again within 12 hours.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Good evening and welcome. I am very sorry to hear about this discipline and certainly understand your concerns. I'm not sure where you read that employers are supposed to impose discipline at a reasonable time and place, but that is simply not a legal requirement. In fact, the law imposes virtually no limits on how an employee can discipline its employees. Any limitations would be imposed by contract or as part of a collective bargaining agreement. But in the absence of such limitations, employment in Nebraska is "at will" and thus can be terminated any time for almost any reason regardless of whether that reason is true or fair. Since employees can be fired at will, the law does not regulate an employer's ability to impose lesser forms of discipline. Thus, no law says that an employer cannot escalate the same incident from a verbal warning to a written warning, or that the employer must raise the issue at a reasonable time. Indeed, they could simply jump straight to termination of that is what they believed was appropriate. Again, the only exception would be if you had a contract or union agreement to the contrary. If that is the case, your employer's breach of agreed upon protocol would be an appropriate basis to file a grievance through your Union. You would need to speak to your union rep about that. I hope this helps clarify things. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.

Very best wishes.