“When it happened to me, and I really, truly was too sick to go to work, I was punished for that,” she said. “I was punished for staying home with a doctor’s note.”
University Hospitals responded to the incident by explaining that their “no-fault” attendance policy, meaning “notes from a physician do not ‘excuse’ an occurrence of absence,” is consistent with policies in other medical systems nationwide. The only types of acceptable absences include approved leaves of absence, workplace illnesses or injuries, scheduled paid time off such as vacation time or doctor appointments, jury duty and bereavement leave. Thus, even Puckett’s note from her doctor instructing her to avoid contact with ill people was not enough.
“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,” said Puckett. “I am more sick than the patient lying in the bed.”
The former nurse added that the irony about her termination is that University Hospitals has been actively encouraging sick visitors to stay home on its various social media outlets. All over the country, people young and old have been suffering from and even dying from influenza this flu season.