making a mistake and breaking a policy I didn't know about?
I had come in for a few hours to cover another teammates shift. I was putting on my patients and checked the dialyzer for residual renalin(a chemical used to clean the dialyzer) and that the correct name was on the dialyzer. My error was that I only checked the last name. I showed the strip to the charge nurse and she allowed me to type her initials and password in the computer system, a common practice that is done daily. After the patient had been on approximately 10 minutes the error was discovered that he was on the wrong dialyzer, same last name, wrong patient. There was also no "similar name" warning sticker on this dialyzer. Both patients ran the same shift, however one was not there that morning. Upon discovery of the error, the patients treatment was ended, he was told what was happening and the treatment was resumed using the correct dialyzer. In the meantime, I told the charge nurse what had happened and the first question I was asked was "what do we do"?, the second question she asked was "how can we cover this up"?. I have worked for this company for 11 years and in all my 11 years I have never lied or tried to "cover" any mistakes I made. If I do something wrong I am the first to admit it. I did not feel comfortable not telling the FA about the situation. In a recent meeting we were told that the next time a patient was put on the wrong dialyzer both parties would be terminated. End of story, no ifs, ands or buts. However after the FA was told of the error, she said she had to speak with our Regional Operations Director, for further action. At 5pm she called me at home to inform me that I was terminated for placing a patient on the wrong dialyzer. I later found out that the other nurse involved was given 3 days off with no pay. Here you see my dilemma. A few months ago, two fellow teammates were involved in the same exact incident, even the signing off aspect and there was no corrective action done. They were not even written up, a verbal warning is all that happened. When patients start at the clinic they are given papers stating that this could indeed happen. How can this situation go from no action to extreme action?
On Monday June 15, 2009, I went to the clinic to sign some papers related to my termination. When I asked to see the policy on immediate termination for the above stated incident, I was told there was not one. I was then shown the IT policy for giving out your password. I was told that this was the reason I was being terminated. I was not aware of this policy. We were all told to change our passwords but were never told we would be terminated if we didn?t. I myself used my FA?s password as well as she used mine in the last month. The day of the incident, everyone that worked that day typed another?s password. How can I be prosecuted to the extreme for something that is demonstrated on a daily basis at our clinic by the person who is responsible for guiding us from wrong and right. As I stated before I have worked for the company for 11 years and have never been reprimanded for anything and it really upsets me that I have been prosecuted to the extreme. I don?t feel the punishment fit?s the crime. I am confused as why I have been terminated, and why what we were told was not followed through. Why was I the only one terminated and when I asked why, the reason was changed. There was also no reason listed on the termination paper,
therefore I refused to sign it. I take full responsibility for the mistake that I made, but it is just that, a mistake.
I have also been told for the last two years that LPN?s would no longer be receiving raises. How can this be true? How can you single out one group of employees that work just as hard as the rest of your staff. I feel that I have been discriminated against, not for my race or gender, but the amount that I am paid and hindrance of my job duties. I can do everything a tech and an RN can do, but the clinic can essentially operate without me. ?I am an overpaid tech ?, which was heard more than once by myself and other staff. I hope you can understand why I feel like I do and my confusion with the entire situation. I tried to get a few letters from current and former employees who are equally confused and unaware of the policy that has caused me to lose my job, but they are scared to because of the fear of retaliation. Unemployment stated they had to have their names to be able to use it. But someone has said that they would have to tell my employer who the letters are from. I am waiting to see if I get unemployment. I had the telephone interview, and my employer had submitted papers from lawyers and the policy. I have never seen the policy so she read it to me and its states passwords were not to be shared unless "it is normal business practice." Well hello! Please help, what should I do???
Answer For: making a mistake and breaking a policy I didn't know about?
I don't know how or why an employer may vary the way they enforce a rule, but I do know that if they don't want to run the risk of not being able to sustain their burden at an unemployment hearing, they would be wise to enforce the rules "UNIFORMLY".
If it's a rule, an employer should always have a "signed acknowledgment" of receipt of the rule. If they add a new one .. they should get another signed acknowledgment.
They can't hand you a rule book 11 years ago .. have you sign that you received it and expect you to remember every rule or policy change that comes along without giving you the rule to add to the handbook
This would be my approach .. and the fact that it was a one time inadvertent error along with the the bit of information about how the charge nurse wanted to cover it up and was not dealt with in the same way.
Of course this could all be dependent on whether you have been disciplined before .. etc.
You are doing what you need to do. Wait for the initial determination. If it denies .. APPEAL and you might consider getting yourself some legal help if you don't feel confident enough to raise all the points you should through testimony and cross examination.
I could go on about the things you should take note of .. the points you would want to raise .. depending on the documents the employer submits. The fact that the IT violation should cut both ways and be applied even handedly. If you need help, get it .. because we're not talking about just a drop in the bucket.
Tanya you have not been discriminated against .. you may have been treated unfairly, but they can do that as an at will employer.
Discrimination is illegal when based on race, national origin, sex, age, religious beliefs, disability .. etc.
Unemployment is what you get when you are found to have lost your job through no fault of your own .. or the legal unfair stuff.