A NewYork-Presbyterian hospital wrongfully fired an operating room nurse over her involvement in union activity, the New York branch office of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday.
The NLRB found that NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital unlawfully discharged Rosamaria Tyo, a longtime registered nurse and member of the New York State Nurses Association, for “patient abandonment” because she participated in union activities.
Tyo was fired after leaving a registered nurse she was mentoring alone in the operating room for 28 minutes, while she and other union employees tried to convince the site’s chief nursing officer to attend contract bargaining negotiations about merit wages, the NLRB said.
Tyo left a capable nurse in the operating room at a noncritical point in the surgery, had informed that nurse of other nurses available to assist and had left her phone number while she walked to a conference room two minutes away, the NLRB said, making her departure not “egregious conduct,” as her employer claimed.
“In short, I am not persuaded that Respondent would have discharged Tyo, a 17-year employee at the hospital, with a positive employment record, who was respected and relied on to serve as preceptor to mentor new nurses ’til the day she was terminated, had she not engaged in concerted activity days before her discharge. That timing, given the totality of the circumstances in this case, cannot be ignored,” the NLRB ruling read.
The NLRB ordered NewYork-Presbyterian to reinstate Tyo to her position or a similar one, to pay for any loss of earnings or benefits and to remove any records about her termination from its files.
NewYork-Presbyterian did not respond to requests for comment Friday.