Legal Information For Nurses Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter For The


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Legal Information For Nurses Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter For The

  1. 1. Legal information for nurses Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession home page. Employee Handbooks: Court Sickle-Cell Willing To See Creation Of Screening: Employment Contract For Result Should Full Disciplinary Processes. Have Been Verified. W hen she was hired the hospital gave the nurse a copy of the hospital’s Courts are beginning to elaborate employee handbook. According to the Court of Appeals of see employee handbooks issued by employers as the T he Supreme Court of Virginia had to rule on a summary judgment motion filed by the attorneys for a pediatric clinic. New Mexico, there was no individual e m- basis for implied employ- The court did not rule definitively that the ployment contract or other document defin- clinic was negligent. ing the relationship between the nurse and ment contracts in situations The court only ruled that if the par- her employer. where there is no collective ents’ allegations were true there were legal The nurse was fired for allegedly call- bargaining agreement with a grounds for a civil lawsuit. The truth or ing in prescriptions to the pharmacy for patients without physicians’ orders. union or written employ- falsity of the allegations would have to be ment contract with a particu- decided by a civil jury. The nurse sued for wrongful dis- charge. She claimed she had rights under lar employee. the employee handbook. That is, the em- Employees are succeeding The mother said she asked ployer’s stated policies for full progressive with wrongful discharge law- a clinic employee for the re- discipline were not just a statement of the suits against their former sults of the sickle-cell test employer’s policies, they were her rights as an employee. employers when fired with- for her second child. Progressive Discipline out getting all the discipli- The mother said she was The nurse claimed she could not be nary processes set out in told she would have been fired without a verbal warning, written the employer’s employee notified if the test was posi- warning, suspension and probation before tive so it must have been handbook. termination. Whether or not her conduct was wrong, she claimed, her firing was null The courts are taking lan- negative. and void because the procedures in the guage out of employee The parents conceived a employee handbook were not followed. handbooks and giving em- third child who was born Employer’s Policies ployees substantial rights. with sickle cell beta O thalas- versus semia. The traditional common- Employees’ Rights law rule is not faring well They would not have con- The court said the trend in the US is away from the traditional common-law rule that employees can be dis- ceived again if they had that employers can fire at will when there is charged at any time for any known their second child ac- no union contract or individual employ- reason with no legal re- tually was positive. ment contract. SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA, 2001. course for wrongful dis- The key is whether the employer, by promulgating and following an employee charge. handbook, has created expectations among Employers customarily put The court said a physician, nurse or employees that the employer will follow its disclaimers in their em- other healthcare provider is negligent to own policies, and whether employees have ployee handbooks that the report the results of medical tests on the continued to work for the employer based basis of assumptions without actually handbooks are not employ- upon such expectations. If so, there is checking. Given the parents’ genetic pro- ment contracts, but those file, the child would not have been more likely than not an implicit employment contract in which the employer’s policies disclaimers often are not screened for sickle cell in the first place have become the employee’s rights, for honored by the courts. without a significant mathematical chance which they can sue. Mealand v. ENMMC, 33 COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW MEXICO, of being positive. Didato v. Strehler, 554 S. P. 3d 285 (N.M. App., 2001). 2001. E. 2d 42 (Va., 2001). Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession January, 2002 Page 4 Legal information for nurses Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession home page.