HALIFAX - At least one Capital Health nurse says sheâs been officially told sheâll be suspended for two days in the wake of Aprilâs illegal strike â even though she has a doctorâs note and prescription medication proving she was home sick and not on the picket lines.
© ANDREW VAUGHAN
Striking nurses protest outside the Halifax Infirmary in Halifax on Thursday, April 3, 2014. The nurses are on a legal strike that the provincial government intends to shut down with essential services legislation as early as Friday.
The nurse, who asked not to be identified, said a sinus infection and upset stomach made her âmiserableâ at work the day before the strike on April 1.
She called in sick on March 31 â hours before the union decided to go ahead with the walkout.
âI made up my mind that I was not going to be at work the next day,â said the woman Wednesday. âMy daughter was going to be at daycare, so it was a day that I could rest, so that was it.â
She was off most of the rest of the week and prescribed two different medications.
She submitted the doctorâs note to Capital Health managers during a meeting in late April, and authorized them to speak with her doctor for further information.
However, she hasnât been paid for the sick day and was told Tuesday sheâd be suspended for two days this summer.
âIt feels really crappy, because theyâre essentially saying their employees are lying. And their doctors are lying,â she said.
âI know I didnât do anything wrong.â
Capital Health director of people services Bruce English said doctorâs notes arenât sufficient documentation for a day when an illegal strike took place and 175 people didnât show up to work.
He said the suspensions will be revisited through a grievance process.
âThe onus goes on them to show that they were off,â he said. âIf theyâre able to do that legitimately, weâll take that into account and if the discipline needs to be adjusted or rescinded, we would.â
English said additional proof required beyond a doctorâs note would vary from case to case.
Nova Scotia Government and Employees Union President Joan Jessome said there are several nurses with doctorâs notes for legitimate absences who are facing suspensions.
She said a doctorâs note is accepted for any other kind of sick leave, and the nurse shouldnât have to provide anything further.
Jessome said she has a âvery strong caseâ for having the suspension repealed.
âWhat the employer did, through anger I would think, they just said, well weâre going to get them for thisâŠand everyoneâs going to be punished,â said Jessome.