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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12788
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am an RN. I was asking information on a patient before I

Customer Question

I am an RN. I was asking for more information on a patient before I accepted the assignment. I was told of I refused I would be written up, and my manager would be called. I wanted clarification as to why this patient had not been tested for ebola when the patient had just returned from Liberia 7 days prior to showing up with fever, vomiting and hiccups. They called my manager and I was "bullied by my manager and 2 other nurses that I had to accept to accept this patient. Turned to be diagnosed with malaria but the symptoms are similar when presented. I accepted assignment. All I wanted the hospital to do protect me, my other patients and the other staff was test this guy to rule out ebola.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. What precisely is your question here? Also, were you terminated or disciplined due to your requests for more information? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I haven't lost my job, this just happened 2 days ago. I haven't had a shift since. I heard they want to meet with me when I return. I want to know if I should have legal representation. I feel I know have a target on my back. I live in the state of texas, I should be able to refuse a patient assignment without fear of being bullied or fear of retribution. I have no training in caring for an ebola patient and that is what his chart first said when I opened it. He was on high level precautions and all it said was possible ebola. Yet the hospital didn't test him for it. Why not? I feel bullied, and not protected by my employer.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** understand your concerns.

Normally, an employee does not have the right to refuse job tasks and be protected in their employment. However, an exception can arise to this general rule under the Occupational Safety and Health Act when there is a real danger of death or serious injury. When an employee exercises their right to refuse work under OSHA, they are protected from retaliation. See here to read more about this OSHA rule.

Generally, it's unwise to involve legal counsel at such an early stage, as doing so can inflame the situation and make it less likely that you can resolve this matter amicably with your employer, which should be your goal. The better course is to explain at your meeting, and subsequently in writing, why you refused this patient and why your refusal constitutes a protected refusal under OSHA. At this point, there is no reason to believe that you were be terminated or face discipline, and so there is no need to make threats or be overly aggresive in justifying your actions. It is best to keep things polite and cordial but explain very firmly why you refuse the work and that your refusal is protected under OSHA. That, typically, would be the best course of action under the circumstances you describe.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did not refuse taking the patient, I was bullied into taking it. I appreciate your advice of keeping things cordial for this meeting. Do registered nurses have the right to refuse without fear of retribution? I know it's a difficult situation and question.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Generally, a nurse does not have the right to refuse patients and keep their job, no. The exception would potentially be under OSHA, as described above. The applicability of that exception is what you want to emphasize in your meeting with your employer.

If there is anything else I can do, please let me know....