I feel I’m being treated unfairly at my job, is there anything I can do?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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I feel I’m being treated unfairly at my job, is there anything I can do?

I am a secretary at a hospital. I am completely untrained in patient care and have no experience. Yet my boss says that I am responsible for helping the nursing staff with patient care (1 on 1 with patient). I explained to my boss that I feel uncomfortable doing thisbut she insists that i am responsible for this. I feel I am being treated unfairly and compromising patient safety. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you feel your employer is violating any laws in regard to medical care, in terms of the specific responsibilities it is asking you to undertake, you could try contacting the state agency which licenses hospitals, doctors, etc. to disclose the violation; if you do and your employer terminates you, you may have a legal claim or cause of action, since employers should neither require employees to break the law nor terminate/retaliate against them for reporting legal violations.

However, if there is no actual legal violations going on, simply that you are being asked to do things beyond your competence, then you probably do not have any recourse; the law does not prohibit employers from requiring employees to perform duties they are unqualified for, so long as there is no actual violation of law.

Note that if you do engage in patient interaction and a patient is injured due to your actions, there are situations in which you could potentially find yourself facing liability. If you are very uncomfortable with this situation or the possibility of liability if the worst happens, you may wish to consider seeking other employment.

In the meantime, the above is a general answer, based on general legal principals. Since this situation is of concern, you would be well advised to consult in detail with an employment law attorney about the specifics of your situation, before you decide what to do. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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