Attorney Ryan Wins Reinstatement for Veteran Hospital Worker Represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

July 18, 2019

A Cambridge area hospital terminated a 31-year beloved employee for allegedly failing to report to work for two days and for checking her email during a time she was required to observe a patient. A neutral arbitrator hired by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the hospital threw out the first allegation entirely and reduced the discipline for the second offense to a two-week suspension. Attorney Jillian Ryan represented the Union throughout the proceedings.

The Arbitrator found that the hospital was entirely to blame for the worker's no call/no show for two days which occurred in the middle of an otherwise approved vacation. The employee had asked months prior to several weeks off to return to Vietnam, as she does many years. Her manager did not personally alert the worker that two days in the middle of her approved vacation were denied. "The Hospital’s decision to characterize this scenario as a “No/Call No Show” is incomprehensible and fairly inexcusable. At no time was any justifiable explanation for Management’s action put forward."

As to the second allegation, the arbitrator agreed that the worker looked briefly at her cell phone, despite a strict ban by the hospital, out of concern for health updates on family members. While potentially a serious violation, the arbitrator also considered the employee's discipline-free record, unusually long tenure as an employee, and positive relationship with patients.

She ordered the termination to be reduced to a two-week suspension and to be made whole for lost wages and benefits.