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  1. #1

    Exclamation Employer is Contesting Unemployment Benefits Approval

    My question involves unemployment benefits :

    I apologize in advance if this is long to read - but here goes. I lived in NY up until June of this year, and was working full time as a Nurse with a local nursing company on a full time case for 1 1/2 years. The company was very poor in their staffing, and often left nurses mandated (made to stay for double shifts or more when another nurse did not show up) -- there were several documented cases where I was scheduled to work 3-11pm, and was made to stay until 7am the next day (16 hours) because the company refused to staff an on-call nurse for emergencies. On April 21, after several of these issues and me addressing them to management to no avail, I was mandated to work a 20.5 hour shift, because two nurses did not show up for their shift. I was exhausted, became very disoriented and dizzy, and feared for my patient's safety as well as my own. I was finally relieved at 10am the next day (started said shift at 3pm on April 20). I immediately emailed the HR Manager and Administrator explaining the dire situation and requesting that something be done about these mandates, as it had become an issue of patient safety at this point. The email was documented, saved, and ignored by the HR Manager and Administrator. I received no written response, nor did I receive an apology for the mandates. Being a nurse, this was not acceptable, as I have a license to protect -- and the company did not seem to care much about this. So, I gave proper three week notice, citing this issue and relocated to California (where family is from) shortly after to get work.

    Now, they have protested my claim and my benefits are on HOLD until it is decided whether I am eligible- they are listing me as a voluntary quit, which it was not (with Good Cause). I wanted to remain there for longer, as I had bonded very much with my patient. My question is - what kind of case should I present? How likely is it that they will win this, given that the reason I left was patient safety AND nurse safety, as well as the fear of losing my license in the event I made a medication error ? From what I am told, this is not yet an Employer Appeal, but rather just a protest of my approval (which is odd, considering I have already received a paid week - shouldn't they have to appeal this?) Please advise -- I have no idea how NYS does this. I have all paperwork (emails) saved and am preparing a written statement. Thank you in advance for your help !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Employer is Contesting Unemployment Benefits Approval

    Your believing that you were quitting for good cause, and whether or not the unemployment agency concludes that you had good cause under the law, are two separate issues. Long shifts in the medical profession are a long-standing issue and, although New York has reduced shift lengths for doctors-in-training to sixteen hours, it has not otherwise acted to restrict shift length. Does your former employer have any written policies in effect that it violated by giving you long shifts? Can you document from the Office of Professions that your license is at risk by virtue of shift length alone? (The NANNP suggests a maximum shift length of 24 hours, with protected sleep after 16 hours; that's not binding.) Did you expressly note in your resignation that you were resigning due to your unresolved objection to the length of your shifts? Were you working in a clinical setting, or were you providing home care? You were receiving an hourly wage and overtime pay?

    The start of payment of benefits does not mean either that your claim has been investigated and approved, or that your employer cannot file an objection causing the temporary suspension of benefits pending the conclusion of an investigation.

    You should review this information on voluntary separation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,492

    Default Re: Employer is Contesting Unemployment Benefits Approval

    Quote Quoting Joeyzoom
    View Post
    I have no idea how NYS does this.
    Then go to the NYS website and study up. I suggest you read both the claimants link and the employers link. Knowing the employers process might help you with strategy.

    http://www.labor.state.ny.us/ui/ui_index.shtm

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting Joeyzoom
    View Post
    From what I am told, this is not yet an Employer Appeal, but rather just a protest of my approval (which is odd, considering I have already received a paid week - shouldn't they have to appeal this?)
    Doesn't matter what you call it. All the employer has to do is provide your quit notice and you'll probably be denied benefits and you'll be the one who has to appeal.

    The appeal board's website will show you how that works:

    http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui-appeal/se...decisions.page

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting Joeyzoom
    View Post
    what kind of case should I present?
    To figure that out I suggest you study up on the appeal boards case decisions involving voluntary separation and see if any match your circumstances and were ruled in favor of the employee.

    Use the search feature at the following link. Put voluntary separation in the search box.

    http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui-appeal/se...decisions.shtm

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting Joeyzoom
    View Post
    How likely is it that they will win this, given that the reason I left was patient safety AND nurse safety, as well as the fear of losing my license in the event I made a medication error ?
    Bottom line: You quit because you were overworked. Your perceptions might not matter.

    Again, read the case decisions. If any decisions went in favor of the employee under similar circumstances you might have a chance.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Employer is Contesting Unemployment Benefits Approval

    Thank you for the reply. After looking at many of these Appeal decisions, it seems that most of them seem to side with the employee -- and some of their "good cause" reasons are far less compelling than a licensed nurse who has repeatedly been forced to work arduous, long shifts (the last one being 20.25 hours) -- at least in my opinion. Mind you, these mandates were unscheduled -- they occurred because the agency would not budget for an on-call nurse for these types of repeated issues. At this point, we are not even at appeal -- I have received one week of PAID claims, and now we are facing the initial objection (filed late). IF they overturn my benefits (The Examiner assigned to this case), then we go to Appeal 1 with the ALJ. I am hoping with my written testimony as to why I left will prevent going to that stage, at least on my end (including dates and times, and all the details including the fact that I emailed HR and the Administrator the day after the 20.25 hour mandate, requesting an on call nurse for these emergencies and was completely ignored).

    I will fight this to the bitter end, as this company treats its nurses extremely poorly, and does not have any regard for our professional licenses whatsoever. I understand your point Poster #1, but put yourself in my shoes -- I am unaware of what you do -- but a 16 hour shift (UNPLANNED, mind you) can mean a nurse giving an overdose, the wrong pill, or wrong treatment due to nurse fatigue. At 20.25 hours, it becomes far more likely. I am not just saying I have a good cause because I want unemployment, many others have concurred -- thank you both for the input. Any additional would be appreciated as well!

  5. #5

    Exclamation Can a Nurse Collect Unemployment After Quitting Due to Mandatory Overtime

    *** All of this said, my most compelling point is that in NY, it is in fact illegal to make a nurse work MANDATORY OVERTIME (this definition not being over 40 hours, but rather anything in excess to the shift which we agree to work). Here is an excerpt from the NYS Dept of Labor site:

    Q: Is there a law that protects nurses from being forced to work overtime?

    A: Yes. The Restrictions on Consecutive Hours of Work for Nurses law (effective July 1, 2009):

    Prohibits health care employers from mandating overtime for nurses
    Sets the conditions for exceptions to this rule
    The New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL) enforces this law. The law appears here.

    |top|

    Q: What is meant by overtime?

    A: “Overtime” in this context is different from its usual meaning -- hours worked past forty in a given week. Here, “overtime” means work hours over and above the predetermined and regularly scheduled work hours a nurse has agreed to work.
    |top|

    Even if they fit in to an "exception", they refused to have a Nurse Coverage Plan (on-call nurses) in place.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can a Nurse Collect Unemployment After Quitting Due to Mandatory Overtime

    Quote Quoting Joeyzoom
    View Post
    *** All of this said, my most compelling point is that in NY, it is in fact illegal to make a nurse work MANDATORY OVERTIME (this definition not being over 40 hours, but rather anything in excess to the shift which we agree to work). Here is an excerpt from the NYS Dept of Labor site:

    Q: Is there a law that protects nurses from being forced to work overtime?

    A: Yes. The Restrictions on Consecutive Hours of Work for Nurses law (effective July 1, 2009):

    Prohibits health care employers from mandating overtime for nurses
    Sets the conditions for exceptions to this rule
    The New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL) enforces this law. The law appears here.

    |top|

    Q: What is meant by overtime?

    A: “Overtime” in this context is different from its usual meaning -- hours worked past forty in a given week. Here, “overtime” means work hours over and above the predetermined and regularly scheduled work hours a nurse has agreed to work.
    |top|

    Even if they fit in to an "exception", they refused to have a Nurse Coverage Plan (on-call nurses) in place.
    You'd better be able to quote the statutes if you have to file an appeal (not just the guide).

    And you'd better know the "exceptions" referred to so you can address whether they do or don't apply to you.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can a Nurse Collect Unemployment After Quitting Due to Mandatory Overtime

    adjusterjack

    Thank you fro your candor. I have printed the entire law statute and website material to use IF I am turned down by the Examiner, and we go to an ALJ. The exceptions are quite simple, patient emergency -- in that, a patient codes (cardiac arrest), has a medical emergency related to meds, etc. Although a patient not being able to be alone COULD be considered such, having this occur over and over again (3 weeks in a row, one being close to a 24 hour shift) is unacceptable even by the Board of Nursing's standards.

    Bottom line, they had no safeguards to prevent this from occurring and refused to put one in place, only calling other nurses who worked the case if something came up. That is not a plan, that is standard in any industry. I will have all of this ready -- a very detailed write up has already been faxed to my Examiner, so now, I wait for her contact. Any other input would be appreciated, with merit to it. Thank you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,209

    Default Re: Can a Nurse Collect Unemployment After Quitting Due to Mandatory Overtime

    FYI, UI examiners and ALJ's do not like it when you attempt to teach them the law that they know better than you do. Do not assume that your interpretation of the law is necessarily correct.

    I'm not saying you are wrong. I am saying that often the party who prevails is the one who brasses off the examiner/ALJ the least. You don't want to brass them off by implying that you know the law better than they do.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can a Nurse Collect Unemployment After Quitting Due to Mandatory Overtime

    cbg: That is why I have provided copies, per the advice of the claims reps, to the Examiner of the ACTUAL Nursing law listed above. It is only a 5 page document that lists the exact statutes I have mentioned herein; and truth be told, nursing laws are very unique and many mainstream Examiners may have no idea what they are. I took the document right from the DOL's website, with each specific statute listed, & stating where a "patient emergency" can not be declared in cases of repeated instances (ie. 3 weeks in a row, because the same nurse kept calling off and nothing was done to alter this behavior). To be exact:

    (ii) A patient care emergency cannot be established in a particular circumstance
    if that circumstance is the result of routine nurse staffing needs due to typical 4
    staffing patterns, typical levels of absenteeism,
    and time off typically approved
    by the employer for vacation, holidays, sick leave, and personal leave, unless a
    Nurse Coverage Plan which meets the requirements of Section 177.4 is in place,
    has been fully implemented and utilized, and has failed to produce staffing to
    meet the particular patient care emergency.


    I will do everything in my power to prove my case, and I will not "cite" the law without providing legal documents from the State itself. That again, is why I supplied those documents for review in ADDITION to my written statement of validity.

    Here is what I supplied:

    https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/CR177.pdf

    Describes my situation to a T. No Nurse Coverage Plan made available to us, and no action on my multiple complaints taken.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    Default Re: Employer is Contesting Unemployment Benefits Approval

    The biggest and most suspicious thing I see is your sudden relocation to CA after quitting.

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