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I was terminated with practically no notice after refusing the flu vaccine. What are my options?

Wednesday December 19, 2012
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Dear Donna,

Last month, I was terminated from my ED job because I declined the flu vaccine. I have never had the flu or a flu shot. I have worked for this facility for many years, and each year I declined the vaccine. Their policy was written in June 2012, but it was not available to the employees until November. There had been no documentation stating when the exact cut-off date would be to comply the policy or face termination until a copy of the policy was issued Nov. 23. I was terminated Nov. 27. The policy should have been made available to employees in June. What are your thoughts on this matter?

Terminated Over Flu Shot Refusal

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Terminated Over Flu Shot Refusal,

I advise you to consult with a nurse attorney as soon as possible on this matter. A nurse attorney (as opposed to a non-nurse attorney) is uniquely qualified to represent your best interests in this case and advise you of your rights. It sounds like you may have cause to challenge the ruling based on what you have stated. This has become a hot issue with nurses across the country, and many are challenging the mandates.

Some nurses feel intimidated about contacting a nurse attorney, but they are there to advocate for you, especially when you have been terminated in a situation like this. Find a nurse attorney by asking around, through a referral from your state chapter of the Emergency Nurses Association (www.ena.org/statecouncils) or the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org), whether or not you are a member, or from The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (www.taana.org).

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.