An RN co-worker who had resigned her position sent an e-mail with false allegations and accusations about me to the CNO, CFO, CEO and DON. My DON insisted that I meet with this person alone and apologize, as “she is young, a highly valued employee in the organization that we hope to retain.”
I was never asked for an explanation or given the benefit of the doubt. I indicated that integrity and honesty was an issue and that I would not meet alone but with a neutral person present. My DON refused to sit with me and this colleague. I enlisted the help of HR. I was scolded severely and reprimanded for “airing nursings problems to HR” and for insubordination.
I called the meeting because my DON was irate, screaming and lording over me with an e-mail correspondence I sent to HR to enlist their help (I had also cc’d my DON on the e-mail). When I returned to my office after stopping in to discuss the DON’s inappropriate behavior, my DON wrote me up for insubordination and I was summoned to HR for a counseling session. My DON denied her behavior and projected that I was out of line. She made multiple false allegations in HR, and I disputed each and every one. Each time I addressed the allegations regarding my professional reputation and integrity, I was labeled as “defensive.” I was told that I violated the standards of behavior for the organization and any further incidents would result in termination.
I made an appointment with my CNO, who also agreed that I should apologize to this colleague. I indicated again my willingness to meet with this RN with a neutral third party, which was unacceptable. My CNO indicated that if I implemented a formal grievance procedure, things would not go well between the DON and me. Six weeks later, my position was eliminated. I have practiced nursing for more than 25 years and have never had a formal counseling, all evaluations have been outstanding, exceeds expectation, etc.
My questions: 1. Do I have any recourse in removal of the verbal counseling from my personnel file? 2. Would it be appropriate to notify IDPR of this colleague’s false accusations for sanctioning of licensure? 3. What is my recourse?
Dear Donna replies:
This situation is complex and troubling on many levels. And without knowing all the details it is challenging to provide advice. I discussed your situation with Fred J. DiCostanzo, RN, MA, executive vice president, human resources, Gannett Healthcare Group. We both agree that you should seek advice and counsel from a nurse attorney to know how to proceed. To find a nurse attorney, ask around, contact your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (whether or not you are a member) for a referral or check with The American Association of Nurse Attorneys at www.taana.org.