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Government investigating workplace claims by VA nurse

New York employees may be interested in the story of one Albany nurse's struggle against workplace retaliation after reporting the abuses of other employees to her supervisors. The woman is one of a large group of Veterans Administration employees from various facilities prompting a government investigation into their claims.

On Nov. 5, 2013, a nurse employed at the Albany VA facility arrived at work to find a female veteran restrained due to PTSD. The doctor ordered the restraints to remain, even after the patient had settled down. The nurse consulted with her supervisor and was given the okay to remove the restraints. The next day, she says, she was assigned to an office and threatened with demotion. In March 2014, the nurse was warned that she would be reprimanded over the incident, and a month later was threatened with penalties after she shared the patient's information with her attorney.

Now, the nurse has informed the VA Inspector General, as well as the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, about the reprisals she faced after reporting the incident. She also alleges to have reported the theft of 5,000 vials of morphine and a two-day restraint of another patient in February. The OSC is now investigating these and other claims of improper care and whistleblower reprisals reported by 37 VA employees.

Retaliation and termination of whistleblower employees and others who have been treated unfairly is a violation of state and federal law. An attorney may be able to help protect this right to complain about unethical behavior and against violations of employee rights. The attorney may be able to assess the employee's claim and bring the appropriate legal action, whether through administrative channels or through a lawsuit.

Source: FOX News, "VA nurse alleges agency turned on her after she reported abuses", Robert Gearty, June 25, 2014

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