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I did not return to work after refusing to submit an incident report to the state concerning an injury I did not witness? Is this legal and can I apply for unemployment compensation?

Friday October 19, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

My administrator wanted me to submit an incident report to the state for an injury she suffered, which I did not witness. I did not have the in-house report to review, either. Is it legal to fill out a report under these circumstances? I did not return to work after this, and am now attempting to apply for unemployment compensation.


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Marlis,

Your question did not contain too many details about how the injury occurred or your role at the facility in which it happened. Also, it appears there are two possible legal issues here — one being the report to the state about the injury and the second regarding applying for unemployment compensation.

A few general comments about unemployment compensation can be made here. However, you may need to retain an attorney to help you obtain compensation, since the circumstances under which you did not return to work are not that easily dealt with. In addition, the injury that must be reported to the state may place you in harm’s way legally — if, for example, you are reported to the board of nursing for any aspect of this injury when the employer says you failed to file a report, as was required.

Generally speaking, unemployment compensation is governed by state law and the laws may differ from state to state. Unemployment compensation usually is granted to a former employee for a specified period of time, unless it can be proven that the employee engaged in misconduct, voluntarily left employment without good cause or is on strike.

Your attorney can help you sort out the exceptions to receiving unemployment compensation in your state and if any of them apply to you. Most likely, you can retain an attorney to represent you in these proceedings now, even though you apparently did not have one at the initial step of the process.


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.