In California, employment is at-will, meaning there does not have to be a reason for an employee to leave or an employer to fire a worker. An exception to this is when the employee has a contract that specifically stipulates the reasons for and methods of termination. Additionally, a manger cannot fire an employee as an act of retaliation. In another state, a worker who recently lost his job claims it was the result of just such retaliation.
The employee's duties at a local nursing home included supervising fire protection for the facility. He had been on the job for about three months and was living across the street from the home in a residence provided by the nursing home. On an afternoon when he was off duty, he watched as fire trucks responded to an alarm at the home and the staff evacuated patients from the facility. The man was allegedly horrified at the dangerous manner in which the evacuation was conducted, including leaving wheelchair-bound residents unattended in the middle of a parking lot.
The fire protection supervisor crossed the street and confronted the nursing manager who had instigated the evacuation. While he admits to raising his voice about the chaotic and ill-advised evacuation, the nursing manager apparently reported that he yelled and cursed at her. The supervisor also believes the nurse manager encouraged others to make false statements against him about the incident.
This was reportedly not the first confrontation between the two employees. The man believes he was terminated three days later as a direct result of his criticism of the nurse manager's handling of the situation. He says he was within his rights to speak up about a situation that placed patients in harm's way. He feels the termination violated those rights in addition to ignoring the three-warning protocol in the employee handbook.
California workers who suddenly lose their jobs have every right to seek answers. It may not be clear to the worker if the termination was done fairly and legally, or if it was done in retaliation. An attorney can examine the circumstances and help the employee determine the best course of action to take.
Source: theday.com, "Former Waterford nursing home employee claims wrongful firing", Greg Smith, Dec. 29, 2017