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I am an advanced practice nurse whose employment was terminated after 16 years of faithful service. The form I was given said I was terminated because I did not meet probationary requirements, but I did not know I was on probation. What can I do?

Monday May 20, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I am an advanced practice nurse whose employment was terminated after 16 years of faithful service. I was given several general statements of misconduct without any examples. The statements were not true, and I was devastated. The form I was given said I was terminated because I did not meet probationary requirements, but I did not know I was on probation. With restructuring, I was given the ultimatum of a new role in January; however no one ever said I was on probation for it. Misconduct behaviors were not explained to me any time before the termination. Our probation policy includes 30-day and 90-day reviews, and I had neither. What can I do?

Theresa



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Theresa,

The situation you describe surrounding your termination sounds a bit confusing, and it is understandable that you were taken by surprise. You did not mention whether you had a contract of employment, had staff privileges as an APN, or were an employee-at-will. Depending on which situation is applicable, you may have different options.

It would be a good idea to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state about your possible legal options, if any. The fact that you were terminated because of "misconduct" and not meeting probationary requirements is troublesome at best. In addition, if the allegations of misconduct are not true, which it sounds as if they are not, you might have a cause of action for defamation against your former employer.

It is possible the termination will be reported to the state board as well, so you need to try to rectify the situation as soon as possible.


Regards,
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.