What are my rights if my employer repeatedly asks me to go beyond my scope of practice?

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What are my rights if my employer repeatedly asks me to go beyond my scope of practice?

I am certified to work as an Emergency Medical Technician. EMTs work under the license of the medical director in their county and we therefore have protocols set into place for what we are supposed/allowed to do as far as patient care goes. My employers constantly want to me to do things outside of my scope of practice as an EMT and when I refuse I get written up for insubordination. They consistently break HIPAA laws as well. Other employees agree but will not speak up. I’m scared to go to the medical director because I can’t lose my job. What can I do about this?

Asked on November 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Delaware

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your employment law question.  Your circumstances create a difficult work environment, and from what you are stating, now your work environment has you engaging in illegal activities.  There is no question that from what you have said that your employer is putting you in a tough situation with no easy option.  For the most part, what you decide to do at your work place is your choice.  Your employer is obviously not allowed to have you engage in illegal activity.  And at the end of the day, if you are knowingly committing illegal activities, then you can be held accountable by the law. 

You have several options, none of which may seem ideal.  If your supervisor asks you to do something illegal, you can say “no,” but then you may face reprimands for not listening to your boss.  If your employer is writing you up and having you sign the warnings, you should only sign something that you are actually acknowledging you did.  You should try to find legal alternatives to accomplish the tasks that your boss is asking of you.  Also, if your direct supervisor is not listening to you, you should find someone else that may be able to correct the situation.  You can report your employer, and you may even be able to report anonymously.  You stated that you do not want to engage in illegal activities, but at the same time do not want to lose your job, but if your employer will not change after you have spoken with them, you may be left with having to report them and also risk your job.  However, if you lose your job, you may have a case to support wrongful termination.

If you need further assistance, you should contact an employment attorney in your area that can provide you with more guidance.

 


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