Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (6)12 Dec 98
Quick Summary: An employee can sue for retaliation for being fired for reporting a violation of the law by a co-worker, either to management or to law enforcement officials.
A nurse falsifying time records is a violation of the law. If a nurse claims wages for time she was not actually present, it means the nursing home did not have a licensed nurse on duty during during the hours in question, which is against the law. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, KANSAS, 1998.
The LPN in this case, according to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, was considered to be a person who seemed to like to stir up conflict with her co-workers.
The court believed the LPNs supervisors were deliberately mistreating her when they acted rudely toward her, gave her what she felt was extra work, looked over her shoulder more closely when she performed routine nursing tasks, were quick to criticize and assigned her to work a shift she did not want to work. But these were just private grievances.
The only factor the court accepted as relevant to the LPNs retaliation lawsuit against the nursing home was that the LPN had reported another nurse at the nursing home for falsifying her time records.
The court said falsifying time records is a violation of the law, and one who reports a violation of the law cannot be made a victim of retaliation for having made such a report. Koehler v. Hunter Care Centers, Inc., 6 F. Supp. 2d 1237 (D. Kan., 1998).