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termination threatened for sleeping on unpaid breaks (Florida)

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  • termination threatened for sleeping on unpaid breaks (Florida)

    I am charge nurse on a psychiatric crisis unit at a hospital in Florida. We recently received an e-mail from administration warning us that we if were caught sleeping on our unpaid break, we would be terminated without further warning. Furthermore, if one of my employees was caught sleeping on their unpaid break, as the charge nurse, I would also be fired. I am new to this forum, and I have a few questions. First, is it legal to tell someone what they can or can't do on their unpaid break? My second question is a little trickier. My hospital is a big place and it's common for employees to wander off the unit on their breaks (though we are forbidden from leaving the hospital property). The e-mail from administration seemed to imply that I'm responsible for what my employees do on their breaks even when they're not on the unit. This is ridiculous. For me to go tracking them down would mean leaving the remaining member of the staff alone on what is at times a dangerous unit, as well as neglecting my own work. Do I have any legal recourse if I'm terminated under this new policy?

    Thank you.

  • #2
    1.) Yes, it is quite legal. They are still on hospital property.

    2.) No, it is also legal for you, as the manager, to be held responsible for what your people do. Whether it is reasonable or not is another story, and not one I'm prepared to answer on the available information. But it is legal, and unless you have a bona fide contract that says otherwise, you can be fired because your people misbehave or violate policy.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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