After being terminated in 2009, the union, which was helping me grieve this action, suggested I settle with a sum of money and a resignation letter with a neutral reference. They really didnt listen to the details of the incident that prompted the termination. The first warning I received was for an incident involving two nurses, but I was the only one warned. The incident for which I was terminated involved three nurses, however I was the only one let go. I asked the union about this and was told they were still employed but were given warnings. After a two-year arbitration, I decided to settle. However, my lawyer pushed me to demand my job back, but I was denied. I was innocent and I dont feel the union represented me fairly at all. After going through a lot of stress and drama with the union delegate director, I have lost faith in the union. It is so difficult to find a nurse attorney in the area with experience. My patients loved me and their comments and appreciation gave me the confidence to know, without a doubt, I am a good nurse. I did not have any problems for three years until my manager and I had issues. I have two children to fight for. Can I appeal my arbitration if I can prove my manager lied in the process? What should I do next?
Nancy Brent replies:
Your experience is an unfortunate one. It sounds as though you did have legal representation, or at least advice, from an attorney during the union hearing. If you do not want to retain this attorney again to fight the decision, then seeking a nurse attorney or attorney in your state to help you sort out your options would be the next step. Doing so as soon as possible would be important, since if there is a way to question the decision, there may be a time limit for it
You can locate a nurse attorney in your state who may handle these matters by going to The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website (http://www.taana.org) and click on their lawyer referral link. Follow the directions given and the names of nurse attorney members in your state will be listed, including their contact information.
Generally speaking, challenging decisions (such as the one levied against you) are often difficult, especially when it appears there are two incidents that were the basis of the ultimate decision. Yet, you speak of some irregularities in the hearing, such as the nurse manager lying, the length of time it took to hear the grievance and the union not representing you properly. So, if it is possible, with your legal counsel’s help, you should try to challenge the outcome. Doing something to challenge it, if available to you, speaks to your solid belief in your innocence and may change the current outcome to one more favorable.