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Wrongful termination

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by cperchal, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. cperchal

    cperchal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I work in surgery. After a case in which a breast sizer was used, which is a disposable item, the Dr asked me if he could have it for educational purposes for his patients. I told him I did not know and would find out. I asked the nurse in my case, who was my supervisor at the time as we were on a call case, and she said that as long as it was cleaned and sterilized that "yea, I don't see why not." The following work day, Monday, I got a text from my supervisor asking where it was, I told her it was in my car as I had cleaned it and was going to drop it of at the Drs office. She said he couldn't have it and it needed to be brought back to the hospital. I told her no problem it was still in my car and I would get it back. I got the implant back to her later that afternoon, the first day she asked for it. During a discussion why I had it, the nurse who gave me permission said she didn't say that. Fortunate for me the Dr had followed me up to the front to find out the answer, and he heard the whole conversation. The CEO of the hospital had called the Dr the Sat before I was terminated asking what this employee had stolen. The CEO was confused about the implants, the Dr educated him on it and proceeded to tell him I didn't steal anything, and that he heard me get permission and that he had heard the whole conversation. He told the CEO that the nurse had told me that I could do it. The CEO then said that as of now it is a HR issue. I was fired 2 days later for theft. Nothing happened to the nurse who had given me permission to do this. I know defamation of character is an issue here, but more so I want this false information taken off of my record. What Can I do?
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    First of all, this is not a wrongful termination under the law.

    You can politely request HR to remove any references to theft from your record, although they are not under any obligation to honor your request.
     
  3. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Seek other employment. That's it. It is not defamation. The person you asked either did not have the authority to allow you to remove the item, didn't think you were seeking her permission and was just speculating on what might be allowed, or misunderstood what you were asking. In any case, it is not illegal to hold you, the person who actually removed the item, responsible. It is not defamation to indicate you were terminated for doing something you actually did do.
     
  4. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    Unfortunately it sounds like neither of you had the rights to authorize or take the object. It does sound like you possibly unknowingly broke a hospital policy/rule that they equated with theft. And like Elle said, I could see where the nurse just basically said she didn't know. You took her word to mean it was okay to do.

    Hindsight is 20/20 but it would have been better to tell the doctor to follow up with someone in authority who could authorize the "gift"/donation. I suspect there are other channels for the doctor to go through to get objects for educational purposes.
     
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Ya... It seems you were told you could clean and sterilize it, but not that you could take it from the hospital. I can't imagine circumstances that it would be reasonable to have it in your personal vehicle.
    There may have been a misunderstanding, but it isn't a wrongful termination.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I think you meant to say, "I workED in surgery."

    You can file for unemployment.

    You can dust off the old résumé and start searching for your next employer.

    Best of luck in your job search, because that next, great job is but an interview away!
     
  7. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    There may be an issue but we can't be sure. Do you have a copy of your files from HR or a letter stating that you were terminated as a result of theft? This could make a significant difference in a number of ways, such as it being a for cause termination, making you potentially unable to obtain unemployment benefits as well as other potential damages. I understand that you wouldn't want such a theft charge to appear on your employment records either. Another question is whether you were a contracted employee and that is why you were fired, being a termination for cause on the basis of theft of medical equipment. If you have a union, you should speak to someone as well as an employment attorney specializing in wrongful termination. If you're an at will employee with no contract, that fact will not work in your favor.
     

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