A community of 30,000 US Transcriptionist serving Medical Transcription Industry
I worked at home as an employee for a local hospital for the last 4 years. Always worked my shift and averaged at least the minimum productivity requirement. According to the employee handbook ALL hospital employees get two paid 15 minute breaks and one unpaid 30-minute lunch. One evening while I was working, I took one of my 15-minute breaks and ran to pick my daughter up from school. I was gone literally 5 minutes as the school is like one block from my house and I live in a small rural town. While I was away from desk, someone in the hospital needed a stat DS and it happened to be in my queue. The MT that worked in the office sent me an email letting me know about the DS. When I returned to my desk (5 minutes after the MT sent the email), I immediately replied to her email saying I would get it out ASAP. It was a short, 4-minute dictation and it was SR to boot, so it took me 5 minutes to send out. The MT in the office apparently didn't check her email, but called me while I was working on it to see if I had gotten her email. At that time I told her "yes, I had taken a short break to pick up my daughter, but that I was working on the report and would be done in a matter of seconds."
The next day I get a call from my supervisor telling me how it was a complete no-no for me to leave my house and that if I did leave my house during my shift I MUST time out. I had never heard this before EVER! All the other MTs who worked from home all had told me they do things on their breaks such as run to the post office, go for a walk, do laundry, run to the grocery store, etc. The in-office MTs leave the department unmanned all of the time because they are short staffed and "are not going to NOT take a break just because there's no one else to answer the phone!" The supervisor is well aware of this and has said it is what it is and all other departments know to page transcription overhead if no one answers the phone. In the evening when there is no one there at all, they are given the 2nd shift MTs' phone numbers to call us at home.
I expressed to my supervisor that I had no idea that I had done anything wrong and that I would make sure to never do it again if indeed that was the policy. She seemed satisfied. A week later her boss and she asked me to come into the office for a meeting at which time I was fired because of that fateful break I took and because they said obviously because I had to pick my daughter up from a school function, I was caring for my child while I was working for them. I explained to them that was not the case, that my daughter was 11 years old and most of the time spent most evenings in various activities or at friends' houses and when she was home, she was self-sufficient enough to not be an interruption. And so nothing i said made a difference, I was fired.
Anyway, I field for unemployment and was contacted by the unemployment office saying that my employer was saying that I "falsified documents" and "had an unexplained absence" during my shift. I have had to write a 5-page appeal. This has been going on for two months and I'm wondering what are my chances of winning my appeal?
I've been laid off from another hospital because they outsourced the entire department, but at least they didn't drum up false charges to try to avoid paying unemployment. I am just so upset at this entire situation and cannot believe how badly this hospital is treating me. In the last few months before I was fired, I had heard rumors that the hospital board of directors had been pressuring the HIM director about cutting her budget and that transcription outsourcing had been talked about and I had heard that when this hospital lays people off, they do it in phases as to not alarm the community or other employees. The entire radiology transcription department was outsourced at this hospital and it was kept so quiet no one new anything about it until one of the radiologists called our department looking for someone to transcribe a stat dictation for him. So you can see that his hospital is sneaky, sneaky.
I am the newest employee hired in the department and feel like they are starting with their phasing out, after me there are two girls that have there 5 to 7 years, so I'm just waiting to hear what happens next.
Thank God I went back to school! I'd be even more depressed if I hadn't!