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I was terminated from my position because my manager stated I was not a good fit for the unit. Have tried to get rehired in another unit, but was rejected. What can I do?

Monday September 3, 2012
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I was terminated from my position because my manager stated I was not a good fit for the unit and that my nonverbal cues indicated I did not want to be on that particular unit. She said I am eligible for rehire, but when I applied to other positions at the hospital, I was rejected due to work history. I asked my manager to explain her recommendation and she did not answer the question directly or sufficiently. Outside of requesting my personnel file which I have done and my request has been ignored what else can I do?

Rita



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Rita,

Unfortunately, not being a good fit on a unit is usually not a cause for which an employee can seek a legal remedy. Personality conflicts, beliefs about different approaches to patient care, etc., are not protected unless there is some underlying discriminatory reason for not getting along, such as age, religious beliefs or one's race, as examples.

It is not clear what your manager meant by your nonverbal clues indicating that you did not want to be on the unit. If this is true, this again could be a legitimate basis for you not being a good fit. Perhaps, as an example, the nurse manager saw this behavior as undermining his or her authority or undermining the general cooperation with him or her by other staff members.

If your state, or the employer, allows for employees to review their personnel records and this has not happened with your several requests, this is your right and should be adhered to by the employer. As a result, you might want to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works with healthcare employees in order to determine how best to obtain your records and how best to deal with this situation.

The attorney's intervention on your behalf may result in some changes to this stalemate, such as obtaining your personnel records and/or obtaining a clearer explanation of the manager's recommendation. If the employer's real reason for terminating you is one other than you just didn't fit, that can be explored by your attorney. It may well end the stalemate, in that you can then elect other options, either legally and/or it may help you seek another position in another facility with an assured fair recommendation from this former employer.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.