Ian Russell Wins Reinstatement for Respiratory Therapist Represented By SEIU 1199

February 6, 2017

A career-ending accusation against an individual working in health and human services involves sleeping on the job. Some employers consistently terminate such employees who sleep while working. A union, such as 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East-Massachusetts helps an employee fight back when facing false or unsubstantiated allegations that they are sleeping.

Here, a neutral arbitrator agreed that the Hospital failed to establish that the employee, a respiratory therapist, actually was sleeping on the job. The Hospital introduced video surveillance footage of two respiratory therapists in their office. While the footage shows the respiratory therapists having a "nest" that could be used for resting or sleeping, only one of the respiratory therapists is shown using it. The remaining Grievant is shown only darkening the room. Otherwise, he is seen moving around the office, and working on his phone or a computer. He persuasively testified in his own defense that he was not sleeping. And he completed all work expected of him during the shift. And he had no motive to sleep or rest (his colleague, by contrast, recently had minor hip surgery).

The arbitrator determined that the Hospital could not substantiate the basic allegation of sleeping on duty against the Grievant. He ordered the Hospital to offer reinstatement and make him whole for lost income and benefits.