monitor 1054600 640

Video Supports Fla. Hospital’s View that Fired Mental Health Tech Lost it on Patient

05 Sep, 2023 Chris Parker

monitor 1054600 640
                               

Atlantis, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Many workers’ compensation retaliation claims come down to the issue of whether the employer genuinely believed an employee’s conduct merited termination.
As the case Francois v. JFK Medical Ctr., No. 4D22-1627. (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 08/30/23) shows, security footage can help support the genuineness of that belief.

Sept. 1, 2020, was a purportedly a bad day to be a healthcare worker at JFK Medical Center in south Florida. On that day, patients attacked nurses on two different occasions. A mental health technician stepped in when the first incident occurred and sprained his wrist.

Later that day, another patient attacked another nurse, and the technician came to the rescue again. This time, he and the nurse got the patient on the floor and the technician allegedly sat on top of the patient.
Several witnesses stated they saw the technician strike the patient several times. Three managers reviewed the security footage of the incident.

When they testified, they each had slightly different memories concerning what they saw in the video. One stated the video did not clearly show the technician striking the patient. Another manager stated that it did. But they all testified they at least saw the technician cock his fist back when he was on top of the patient.

Based on the video, the hospital terminated the technician shortly after the incident for using excessive force.

The technician sued the hospital, arguing that the hospital really fired him because of his workers’ compensation claim for his wrist. The hospital was using the excessive force charge as a pretext, he argued.

To establish workers’ compensation retaliation based on being fired, an employee must show the employer fired him because he exercised his rights under the workers’ compensation act. If the employer articulates a valid basis for the termination, the employee then must demonstrate that the reason was just a pretext.

The court acknowledged that the hospital fired the technician shortly after he sprained his wrist. However, the temporal proximity of the two events was not enough to show retaliation, given that there was no evidence the hospital managers did not genuinely believe the technician used excessive force.

The issue, the court observed, was not whether the managers had a sound basis for terminating the technician, but whether they believed they did. “We cannot question whether it was reasonable to fire [him] based on the video or whether a reasonable employer would have conducted a different investigation,” the court wrote.

Nor was it significant that the managers, when they testified in court, had varying memories concerning the security footage. “Any differences in the witnesses' recollection of what the video showed were inconsequential; the witnesses testified that they at least saw [the technician] cock his fist back when he was on top of the patient,” the court wrote.


  • AI california case management case management focus claims cms compensability compliance courts covid do you know the rule exclusive remedy florida glossary check Healthcare health care iowa leadership medical medicare minnesota NCCI new jersey new york ohio opioids osha pennsylvania Safety state info technology tennessee texas violence virginia WDYT west virginia what do you think women's history month workcompcollege workers' comp 101 workers' recovery workers' compensation contact information Workplace Safety Workplace Violence


  • Read Also

    About The Author

    • Chris Parker

    Read More

    Request a Demo

    To request a free demo of one of our products, please fill in this form. Our sales team will get back to you shortly.