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Zero Tolerance Policy

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Bill Lee, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. Bill Lee

    Bill Lee Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    I'm a physician. I will be placed on the company's zero-tolerance policy. The problem came about when I have some softwares (such as microsoft drive, pdf reader, etc) on the company laptop which they said could compromise their network privacy hence patient's privacy. I didn't know that I couldn't install software onto the company's laptop. They gave me a laptop and there was no restriction to not install the software. Later on, they blocked all the software I installed and I complied with everything they asked. Now (6 weeks later), all of a sudden, my boss called me to the office and said we need to investigate my computer use because it tampers with their security system. They have investigated the issue, and I will be seeing them soon to discuss this issue. They are planning to put me on the company's zero tolerance policy. What questions should I ask? How should I proceed with this?

    Thank you
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You should cooperate fully in their investigation; answer all questions politely and truthfully. You should recognize that it was negligent of you not to ask about any policies regarding downloads or installing other software on their computer and that you were in the wrong.
     
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  3. Bill Lee

    Bill Lee Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I did exactly as you said, I said I was 100% vested in the process and willingness to comply with whatever. So my boss has done his investigation. We'll have a meeting tomorrow with my boss. What questions should I ask? Is the zero tolerance policy apply to my patient's care as well? If a patient complains about me or my medical care then would the zero-tolerance policy applied to me? I had never been on this kind of policy that issue directly to me. I know there is zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment and drug use, but not what my employer intention to go with this? If there is a general zero tolerance policy then why specifically put me on this policy? What kind of questions should I ask?
     
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Bill, with all due respect, how can you possible expect us to know what the policy is, what it applies to, or what questions you should ask?
     
    hrforme likes this.
  5. Bill Lee

    Bill Lee Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I felt like what my employer doing is out of proportion to my negligence. I am not sure what their motives are (perhaps termination?). I want to know what questions to ask to probe their motives/intentions so that I have a better understanding. I want to be a good employee, but I can't work in an environment in which I can be eliminated for any given cause due to the zero-tolerance policy.
     
  6. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    "there was no restriction to not install the software"

    I have to think that at some point in your hiring paperwork or in some type of employee handbook with policies or even HIPAA training that this would have been something covered by them. I don't know a single employer that doesn't have this very common policy, especially with employers that deal with confidential client info or PHI.
     
  7. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    "I felt like what my employer doing is out of proportion to my negligence"

    You (still) don't seem to understand the (possible) impact of your actions. Their intentions would seem to be to lessen the risk/liability of malware/viruses and pirating of information that you might have about clients on your company laptop along.... that's very very common.

    "I can be eliminated for any given cause " Unless you have a contract, and you might, you can be eliminated for just about any reason that is nondiscriminatory in 49 out of 50 states. They don't even have to give you a reason nor do you have to give them cause..... that said, most employers don't just terminate willy-nilly. But your mistake seems to be larger than you understand.

    While you may not have intended anything by your actions, that's often not an excuse...might be an explanation though.

    Agree with cbg, that only your employer can tell you where you stand.
     
  8. Bill Lee

    Bill Lee Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, it was my negligence to install the software. I'm sure it is somewhere in 1000 pages handbook.
     
  9. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    It's also common sense.

    BTW, as hrforme said, in 49 states unless you have a contract that expressly says otherwise, you can be fired for any reason that does not violate the law; there does not have to be cause. What you may want to be aware of is that even in the 50th state THIS WOULD BE CAUSE. No one needed to hold your hand and tell you that you shouldn't put your own software on their computer - you should know that without being told.
     
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  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I suggest you go to your meeting, sit quietly, and just listen. Don't ask anything, don't try to explain yourself, and if you are placed on some sort of "zero tolerance" and you do have a written contract and there is any talk of termination, you say Thank You, and then take your contract to an attorney for review.

    If it turns out that you are employed at will (no contract) then you just have to accept your fate like the rest of us worker bees have had to do in the past until we were able to leave for greener pastures.
     
    Bill Lee likes this.
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Don't ask questions, listen, agree, then comply.
    You're a physician, and can afford to BUY your own laptop.
    I never used an employer's laptop for ANYTHING but employer business.
    Even as a judge, I never used personal emails on the government laptop.
    In this day and age, laptops are cheaper than mobile phones or tablets.
    Just don't put any personal stuff, do any personal searching, or anything but work and employer materials on a corporate owned laptop, problem solved, life will be easy.
     
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  12. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    You seem to have missed some basic education about computing in medicine. If this computer has any patient data, it is subject to HIPAA and the entire system must be determined to be able to protect the patient data.

    If the device has clinical use, you have even bigger issues. You are immediately jeopardizing patient care with your shenanigans. It's gone from a regulatory issue to a malpractice one.
     
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  13. Bill Lee

    Bill Lee Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you very much for your replies. I really appreciate it.
     

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