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I reported a co-worker for bullying and ended up with a written warning. Do I have any recourse?

Friday July 26, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I'm an RN who wrote a letter reporting harassment and bullying by a co-worker and turned it into my director. I found out six months later that she never turned it into human resources. Hospital policy states it is to be turned in right away. Four months after I wrote the letter, the RN the letter was reporting, changed a medical nursing order I wrote. The director wrote me a final notice because of the altered document. After I fought it, HR reduced my final warning to a first written warning, which I didnít even deserve. Now the hospital just wants to sweep all this under the rug. You can clearly see the document is altered, but HR claims I cannot prove who did it. I'm sure this has happened to others and they just quit because of the pressure. This nurse has been bullying people for years, and I feel sorry for her next victim. Do I have any recourse?

Fern



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Fern,

It sounds as though you were not treated well or fairly in this situation. It is unclear what was going on with your director and with HR, but it sounds as though the ball got dropped a couple of times.

Your best option would be to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works with employees. It sounds as though you might have had legal representation during this ordeal. If so, the attorney might be able to suggest more options. If you did not have representation, getting a consultation now will allow you to see what legal avenues may be available to you.

Remember the RN you wrote up is a licensed professional. The attorney you consult with probably will review the state nurse practice act in order to determine whether that RN violated any provisions of the nurse practice act and, if so, what can be done because of those violations.

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.