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Slander by former employer!!

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I am an RN who started working at a nursing home in May of '99. On 7-3-99, I was in a bad car accident with my son and was out of work for approx 3 weeks. I was allowed to come back after one week and perform "light duty" i.e. paperwork. On the second day, the HR director called me in and said that I needed to go home until I was able to come back "100%". Upon my return, nothing I did was satisfactory. My employer attempted to write me up for "talking too loud at the nurses station" and I began to have problems with a particular pt who was known to be a jerk and verbally abusive. On one occasion, he was not in his room when lunch arrived and did not return for 2 hours at which time he demanded to be fed lunch (he is a quad). This was at change of shift and I told him he would need to wait approx 20 minutes. He became enraged and wheeled himself down to the DON's office and complained. He then returned to the floor and stated that he was going to get a relative to come and "kill me". The DON refused to allow me to call the police to file a complaint.Well, the Medicare licensing board came to check the facility out and egged this guy on...the pt called Adult Protective Services and an investigation was launched. I was found innocent by the APS dept but the facility said they were going to suspend me for 3 days to investigate. I quit on the spot because they had stated I had done nothing wrong. The DON said I couldn't leave because she needed a written account of what happened in order to protect the facility. I said no way!! After that, I tried to get a job at a hospital with a $5000.00 sign-on bonus but was turned down because of negative comments from my previous job. Job interview #2 resulted in a denial because the facility reported me to the Board of Nursing for "neglect and abuse"!!!! The investigation took 3 months during which time I could not work as an RN! I have had to file Bankruptcy and am losing my home! I am a single parent who depended on my profession. The board cleared me last week and found no violations of the Nurse Practice Act of any kind! Meanwhile, I had a friend call the facility and ask for a reference. She was told by the HR director that I was not rehirable for reasons ranging from "abuse to neglect"! I have several notes of being a "terrific employee" and feel I should be compensated for wages lost and punitive damages. I either need to find an attorney who will do this on a contingency basis or sue pro se. Any advice?


Ex HR Guy

This is a terrible situation. There is something going on here that I can not figure out. But it is a very serious matter.

In terms of moving on, what about using references BEFORE you had this nursing home job from hell? You could always say you worked at the home briefly but had a serious auto accident and were out for weeks and then quit as you did not like the way it was run and the boss was abusive (he was).

I don't think you'll get a lawyer to take this on a contingency basis without some real hard proof that you have been intentionally made the fall guy to take the blame improperly. Do you have any friends of yours who are there who could tell you what is going on? And why?

A bad reference is not libel. Your quitting when they asked you not to is enough to get a bad reference. They also would say they will not rehire -- it's true if you quit.

My guess is that your best shot is to go to a lawyer and get a lawyer's letter to them that may scare them into backing off. It will cost something for a consult and letter, but it's better than being unemployable.

asas most


You may have a case against the former employer for black listing you. Possbily for defamation since the charges they tell prospective employers has been shown to be false by the investigating agencies.

There are a number of labor lawyer firms that take these type cases on a contingency basis. Just ask around. You can find an attorney near you at attorneypages.com

Mark B. Replogle

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