A fill-in nurse who said she was too sick with the flu to go to work (and had a doctor’s note to prove it) was abruptly fired by the University Hospitals for calling out sick too many times. The hospital said the worker broke its attendance policies and a doctor’s note is not an excuse.
Theresa Puckett got the flu just after Christmas and, like many patients have experienced first-hand, this season’s flu symptoms were a lot worse than anything some people have seen.
Puckett took time off at the end of 2017 but when she returned her manager allowed her to leave earlier because she was still in a bad shape. She said she did everything humanly possible to “patch” herself up and show up for work.
But after another sick day, UH fired her, saying that she broke its attendance policy for temporary nurses, which states that a nurse can be fired if she has two or more unapproved absences in two months.
Nurse Fired for Being Too Sick to Work
The nurse noted that she was “punished” for being too sick to work. And she had a doctor’s note that recommended not to get in touch with patients. UH, however, was unimpressed. They said that a physician’s note does not excuse an unapproved leave of absence.
UH’s list of approved absences includes:
- workplace illnesses and injuries,
- paid time-off if its was announced in advance,
- scheduled doctors’ appointments,
- bereavement or jury duty.
Approved absences do not include an aggressive bout of flu.
There are times where I have gone to work so sick that the patient who is laying in the bed is in better condition than myself,
said the nurse.
She underlined that, ironically, UH advises on its Facebook page visitors that have the flu to stay home.
University Hospitals’ response was that its policy is no different from other medical systems’ attendance policies in the country.
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