Accusation of physical assault in workplace : LUSENET : Law Of The Workplace : One Thread

Hey there,

I'm a nurse who works the midday shift in order to give lunch breaks. Recently one of the nurses took over an hour for her lunch (it should have only been 30 minutes). Since this is a problem since time immemorial in every hospital on the globe I normally don't bother formally complaining to the boss about it any more - there are 3 or 4 who always abuse break times, I have bigger battles to win, and these people have no friends - but this time I was asked by my boss where I had been all that time, since the nurse's extra time taken had made me late starting another assignment.

The next day, the minute I came on duty, I was verbally "attacked" by the nurse in concert with the tech who had been working with her the day before (the tech, in keeping with his reputation, had also taken well over an hour for his lunch, in fact it was the last case of the day for that surgeon so the tech never came back at all).

Both of them had the same story: that I was lying, that I was a "snitch" (!!!), that in any case they'd heard I had "disappeared" during the time I was supposed to be giving her lunch (this part of their accusation, luckily, is easily disproven by many physician and nurse witnesses and by the computer records we are required to enter every 5 - 10 minutes as we work).

Now, I have been told by Human Resources that the tech is accusing me of grabbing him by the wrist and attempting to pull him down the hallway, during the time they were accusing me of whatever. (Thank God I had already filed a charge with HR of harassment and slander against both of them before he came up with this).

This allegation is more believable when you know that the tech is about 5' 3" and skinny and I am 5' 6" and probably almost twice his weight.

My workplace has a high turnover of nurses; at one point we were 70% Agency/Registry nurses, whereas the tech population has remained relatively stable. I have only worked there less than 11/2 years. The tech has worked there a long time. The nurse involved in this dispute has been there slightly longer than me and was recruited with others en masse from overseas.

To make matters worse, my manager called me at home the evening of the fracas, angry, telling me she had placed me on "administrative leave without pay". I had been in such distress (I think because there were two people who had synchronised the lies - one person alone and I might have been fine) I could not continue to work that day, so despite my telling her at least 6 times that I could not work, and my eventually formally informing the manager under her (since she herself would not listen) that I had to see my doctor and go home (my doctor gave me sedation, so I should not have been allowed to work in that case anyway), she says that I "abandoned the workplace".


Well, I don't know if there's anything y'all can do to help but thanks for listening.

I have spoken to my union, I've spoken to the local cop, I'm in search of a lawyer. I am so scared I'll lose my job and/or my nursing license over this - I'm a 50 yr old "slightly" :) obese female who has recently had to get hearing aids, so what's my chances for future employment after this? I know I have told the truth, but I'm scared that the nurse will lie and corroborate the tech's story. As far as I remember there were no other people present during the event.


Well, I guess the good news is.. I have time to spend in my vegetable and flower gardens. Is there a living to be made out of that, she wonders :)

-- Deirdre (not my real name, but the email addy works)

-- Deirdre Cloghar (, August 17, 2004

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