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Thread: Different twist on firing vs quitting? Michigan

  1. #1
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    Default Different twist on firing vs quitting? Michigan

    Hi to all,

    My wife is a nurse who recently quit her job at a state (michigan) hospital for patients who suffer from emotional illness. She tried it for over a year and after being assaulted 3 times by patients, forced to work double shifts (without notice) and working understaffed almost continually (hard to hire help when they get beat up on a regular basis) she finally gave up one night and sat down with her supervisor and after a long talk handed over her keys and quit. The next day she emailed her formal resignation and later received via the US Mail a letter indicating that she was fired for leaving her post and that the record of her firing would be sent to the State's licensing board. Her union rep (weak) is representing here in a hearing with Director in a couple of days and I don't expect much in the way cooperation from him so i am looking for recommendations from those who have been down this road before. Most people are trying to argue that they were fired rather than quit so they can collect unemployment so there does not seem to be a lot of discussion on this situation.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
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    If the meat of the issue is the licensing board, then I don't see quit versus fired as being relevant. It seems to hinge on whether leaving as she did violates a regulation within nursing. For instance, when she left was it in the middle of a shift and so the hospital was under the mandated level of staffing?

  3. #3
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    What is your question? Whether your wife is likely to be eligible for unemployment benefits?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth3 View Post
    What is your question? Whether your wife is likely to be eligible for unemployment benefits?
    Sorry for not being clear. Assuming that her employer is going to insist that she was fired what is the forum to settle the dispute? Labor Department? Nursing Board? She approached her Assistant Director of Nursing and voiced her concerns he accepted her keys and verbal resignation without dispute and agreed to accept her written resignation the following day. It was those above the assistant director who have insisted this is a firing. It seems odd that your employer can you walk you to the door and terminate you at their pleasure why can't the employee resign (assuming there is sufficient staff to manage the balance of the shift). It almost seems to be childish on the employers part to insist that you were fired when you left voluntarily.

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    Did your wife give notice at all? Or was she planning to leave that same day? It might hinge on the substance of the long talk. If she started out the talk with her manager by giving her 2 weeks' notice, and after the long talk, they agreed that night would be her last, to me that might be characterized as an involuntary term, rather than a resignation - even if she started out the conversation by giving her resignation.

    They are insisting she was fired. If she did want to walk away that same day, they may be claiming she was fired to send a message to the remaining staff. They may be very angry about her giving up her job, because it sounds like it would be a difficult one to fill.

    DOL does not care about her being fired or if she resigned, unless she files a claim for UI benefits. If she does that, they have a copy of her written resignation, but the letter they mailed to her saying that she was fired does give her a lot of mileage on her own claim. I would tread carefully with that if she decides to do it, because they may say one thing to her and to staff, but a different story to the state.

    Michigan's nursing board has procedures to follow for filing complaints about licensed professionals, including nurses.

    Here's a link for her to check on her license: http://www7.dleg.state.mi.us/free/

    Here's a link to how the allegation/investigation procedure works:
    http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,1607,...3590--,00.html

    Hope that helps.

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    You can't make the employer change the way they record her termination of employment. Company records are what they are and many companies have unique criteria for how they record each type of termination. That is their perogative.

    If this leads to some sort of action on behalf of the nursing board, you would take it up with them. How the nursing board views it may be very different than how the employer does. Even if the board agrees that it was a voluntary resignation that decision only extends as far as their own jurisdiction, not how your former employer must classify it.

    Same for UI. The state doesn't much look at how the termination is classified as the reason for it. Either you came to be unemployed for a reason which qualifies you for benefits or one which disqualifies you. It doesn't mean the employer is wrong.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    Assuming that her employer is going to insist that she was fired what is the forum to settle the dispute? Labor Department? Nursing Board?

    There isn't any agency that handles this. If your wife's position is that she resigned, that's fine. If her employer's position is that she was fired, that's legal too. I don't understand why your wife's employer decided to fire her after she quit but they can take that stance if they wish too.

  8. #8

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    Has the union representative filed a grievance? It sounds like the upcoming “hearing” with the hospital director is part of a CBA grievance process. If your wife remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the meeting, she should press the union representative and the higher ups in the union to take this dispute to arbitration.

    Even in a situation in which the industry is closely regulated and the workforce is unionized, the employees generally retain the right to resign voluntarily without notice. Normally, neither the regulations nor the CBA require an employee to provide advance notice of his or her intention to resign. I would think the union representatives would know whether any such requirement existed here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ESteele View Post
    Has the union representative filed a grievance? It sounds like the upcoming “hearing” with the hospital director is part of a CBA grievance process. If your wife remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the meeting, she should press the union representative and the higher ups in the union to take this dispute to arbitration.

    Even in a situation in which the industry is closely regulated and the workforce is unionized, the employees generally retain the right to resign voluntarily without notice. Normally, neither the regulations nor the CBA require an employee to provide advance notice of his or her intention to resign. I would think the union representatives would know whether any such requirement existed here.
    Yes the hearing is part of the grievance process. Thanks so much for your input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth3 View Post
    Assuming that her employer is going to insist that she was fired what is the forum to settle the dispute? Labor Department? Nursing Board?

    There isn't any agency that handles this. If your wife's position is that she resigned, that's fine. If her employer's position is that she was fired, that's legal too. I don't understand why your wife's employer decided to fire her after she quit but they can take that stance if they wish too.
    I am sure they are irritated with the fact they were given very little notice and there are very few nurse interested in working in that environment. The atttrition rate is quite a high and they lose have the new hires before they finish the 3 week training period.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.J. Brown View Post
    Did your wife give notice at all? Or was she planning to leave that same day? It might hinge on the substance of the long talk. If she started out the talk with her manager by giving her 2 weeks' notice, and after the long talk, they agreed that night would be her last, to me that might be characterized as an involuntary term, rather than a resignation - even if she started out the conversation by giving her resignation.

    They are insisting she was fired. If she did want to walk away that same day, they may be claiming she was fired to send a message to the remaining staff. They may be very angry about her giving up her job, because it sounds like it would be a difficult one to fill.

    DOL does not care about her being fired or if she resigned, unless she files a claim for UI benefits. If she does that, they have a copy of her written resignation, but the letter they mailed to her saying that she was fired does give her a lot of mileage on her own claim. I would tread carefully with that if she decides to do it, because they may say one thing to her and to staff, but a different story to the state.

    Michigan's nursing board has procedures to follow for filing complaints about licensed professionals, including nurses.

    Here's a link for her to check on her license: http://www7.dleg.state.mi.us/free/

    Here's a link to how the allegation/investigation procedure works:
    http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,1607,...3590--,00.html

    Hope that helps.
    Your response was very helpful and much appreciated. Thank you.

  12. #12

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    In addition to her pressing her union representatives, you and/or your wife should carefully review the CBA and any state regulations concerning her nursing license. You want to confirm for yourselves that neither the CBA nor the regulations precluded your wife from voluntarily resigning with little or no notice. If no notice requirement exists, then it is difficult to perceive how your wife did anything wrong in resigning from a manifestly understaffed and occasionally dangerous facility.

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