A former University Hospitals employee has decided to put her former employer on blast for firing her after she called out sick with the flu.
Theresa Puckett told News 5 Cleveland she was told she’d violated the hospital’s attendance policy by calling out once at the end of 2017 and being sent home early a second shift during which she was fighting off the flu.
“I was putting in my cough drops, I was drinking my water,’ she said.
“I mean the whole nine yards just to patch myself up enough to go to work.”
Puckett was a “fill-in” nurse, or PRN, at the hospital. As such, she was open to dismissal from her duties for taking two non-approved absences over the course of 60 days.
She told News 5 Cleveland the policy is a product of a culture among members of the medical field, which aims to see hospitals staffed regardless of the consequences.
“I was punished for staying home with a doctor’s note,” she said.
University Hospitals told the outlet they have a “no-fault” attendance policy, meaning “notes from a physician do no ‘excuse’ an occurrence of absence.”
Only four specific types of absences are allowed under this policy.
Those are approved leaves of absence, workplace illnesses or injuries, scheduled paid time off, like vacation time or doctors’ appointments, and jury duty or bereavement leave.
The medical center claims this policy is consistent with those of other facilities across the region and nation as a whole.
Puckett said she’s gone to work sick before because of the facility’s policies.
“There are times where I have gone to work so sick that the patient who is laying in the bed is in better condition than myself,” she said.
Following her firing, Puckett pointed out, University Hospitals posted a Facebook message urging sick visitors to stay home.
This year’s flu season is no joke — you would think that a hospital would be more considerate, right?