One of the more common wrongful termination scenarios that Kaiser employees seem to face is retaliation for complaining about patient safety or other violations of safety and patient care. It’s easy for management to retaliate against registered nurses or nursing assistants, and it’s as easy as finding minor job related mistakes, such as charting errors that have no actual significance, in order to set the employee who complained about an unsafe practice for termination.
If you feel you are being targeted and retaliated against, you might not be able to save your job, unless you manage to transfer to work under a different management as soon as possible and before your are terminated. However, there are a few things you can do to make your future claim stronger, in case you choose to pursue a retaliation and/or wrongful termination case against your employer:
1. Keep track of all the important documents, e-mails, and your own chronology of any events that would suggest that your employer was unhappy about your complaints or other protected activities, and was trying to set you up for failure and for being fired.
2. Talk to and secure the statements of witnesses who could testify that they committed the same alleged violations for which you are being disciplined for, and for which they were not disciplined for at all, or weren’t disciplined for as harshly.
3. Resist the temptation to sound forceful, angry or rude in your communication with the employer, even if your anger and frustration are justified, as this will give the employer an independent and perfectly lawful reason to terminate you regardless of all the other circumstances. It’s much harder to prove that you were terminated as a result of retaliation, when the employer shows that they had a perfectly valid reason to terminate you – i.e. insubordination, verbal violence and alike. I once saw an e-mail from a nurse who felt like she was retaliate against by her nurse manager, stating: “I can’t believe you do this to me, after everything I have done for you. I hope you and this whole department burn in hell as you deserve to…” This kind of e-mail can be fatal to proving any wrongful termination case.