Fired after client incident?

by Sheryl
(Westport, MA)

I worked as an RN in a Section 35 facility where a client eloped out the building and up into a dangerous location (in between what looked like grain vats with fire escape type ladder that she ran up). Five other staff followed the client out and stated to call 911. That made her a medical emergency, therefore nursing has to go by policy.

The case counselor could not climb ladder, but I could. I was up 10-15 feet, talking to the client and suggesting she section 12, which would keep her safe for 3 business days. She was stating "this was my last resort....I just want to feel better and have my meds adjusted and nobody cares. I did not think it would be like this. I have 50 bucks...I am just going to go shoot up."

My nursing director and the director of the facility shouted from across the parking lot, "just leave her there." I stated that ethically I could not do that. The client stated she would go back in so I would not get in trouble. While walking back in I was told to get my stuff and go home, and an investigation would be done.

I was subsequently fired. I asked for a copy of investigation and did not receive one. I have no disciplinary actions ever, at that job or any other, and I have been an RN since 1986. I did not get along with the director of the facility and feel it was personal. I also asked for a copy of my employee file and did not receive that either.

I have been hesitant to report this because the career center stated it could be career suicide. I am now working at Rhode Island Hospital as an RN. It took 6 months to get a new job, and I did receive unemployment. What can I do? Do I have a case for wrongful termination? Thank you for you time and consideration regarding this matter.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fired after client incident?":

Sheryl (Westport, MA):

Form the facts you present, you do not have the basis of a wrongful termination lawsuit. That of course, is based on not having knowledge of whether or not you were working pursuant to an employee guide, or rules and regulations governing grounds for termination.

If you were working pursuant to an employee guide or had, as a part of your employment, access to rules and regulations governing termination, you may have the basis of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Of course, this is contingent upon your having exhausted all your remedies, including appellate rights based on the employee guide, or promulgated rules and regulations governing termination.

In the alternative, if you were working as an "at will" employee, and were not terminated based on your race, ethnicity, sexual preference, age, or religious beliefs, then you do not have the basis of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
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