That is not what I said/heard !

How often have you had a one-on-one conversation – in person or on the phone – with a “shirt”… and at some point down the road… when you are doing what you have been told and something goes wrong… and when you ask the “shirt” to back you up… they have an acute case of dementia about that previous meeting… That is not what I said… that I not what I heard… I don’t remember the meeting/conversation.. it becomes your word against his/her.. and if the issue involved concerns itself with breaking/fracturing something in the company’s policy and procedure manual… Of course, we all know that no exec/management would tell an employee to ignore/break any law/rule/regulation or anything in the P&P manual.

What’s an employee to do…  Thirty Eight states allow recording a conversation as long as at least one party in the conversation knows that the recording is happening.. It would appear to be a coin toss with the EEOC when trying to use such recorded conversation.

If I was asked to be in a one-to-one conversation.. I think that I would turn on the recording function in my smart phone.. and then ask the “shirt” if it is OK to record this conversation.. so that .. if at some point you needed a question or clarification… you can go back and reference what is said…

If the “shirt” tell you NO.. then there is a good chance that he/she is getting ready to tell you to do or not do something… that he/she does not want to be ever held responsible for telling you… because it is against P&P or at least in a “gray area” of the P&P… bottom line… what you are going to be told is NOT KOSHER !

Turn the recorder off.. you have just documented… by the fact that the “shirt” does not want this recorded… that something is up… DO NOT… erase the documentation that part of the recording that the “shirt” did not want the full conversation recorded… He/she may be caught off guard enough … to not request that you erase that … ignoring the importance of the denial to record the conversation.

If the net result of the meeting is otherwise benign… your documentation on this issue is done….

If on the other hand… you are told to do or not do something that will fracture/break a law… put patient’s safety at risk… then you need to send a follow up email to the “shirt” that you had the meeting with…

If what you were told could only POTENTIALLY do something like increase medication errors… you simply need to state your concerns and your understanding of the conversation.. including in the email that you asked to record the meeting which was denied… and conclude the email with “unless I hear from you to the contrary.. I will presume that my understanding of the meeting is correct…

If … on the other hand… if it is clear – to you – that a law or P&P will be broken/violated by what you are told… send a email .. stating your understanding of the conversation… quoting chapter and verse of the law/P&P and ask for review and response from the corp’s legal dept…. as to the legality of what you were asked/told to do… and ask for a time frame for a response 1-2 wks…

If .. you have no response from legal within the time frame… send another email to “shirt” AND legal… attaching previous emails.. and stating that since no one will confirm nor deny the legality of what you were told to do… at this point in time.. you will be unable to comply until such time that legal responds.

HR/CCO should be CC’d or BCC’d all of these emails… HR/CCO.. depending on the severity of violations of P&P/laws… can be personally held liable for allowing it to happen… and they are in the same position… as you… the corp will throw them under the bus… if they get caught breaking, or allowing employees to break any law/P&P.

If management comes back at you over not wanting to do/not do what you were told without having legal confirm that the corporate edict is legal.. just point to the page in the P&P that say that all employees will obey/observe all rules/regulations/laws…  all they have to do is have legal confirm – in writing – that what you are told to do/not do is legal… that means that the corporation just assumed all liability if something goes wrong… if you get it in writing… and they know that there is going to be a whole bunch of dollars involved – as a settlement – for firing an employee for refusing to break laws…

It is ILLEGAL for an employer to instruct an employee to do something ILLEGAL… and the financial consequences to the corporation can be quite draconian

One Response

  1. I agree with most everything said here and how to deal with it. However, once you go down this path you will have the corporate target on your back and they will find a way to get rid of you.

    Document the hell out of these issues by keeping your own file of emails, etc. Take a legal pad to all one-on-one meetings and take notes. I don’t think any “shirt” will let you record a conversation, but I doubt anyone would stop you from taking notes. At the very least you are letting the other person know they will be held responsible for what they are saying.

    When you leave the company you are in a much better position to hold them accountable through legal and civil actions. Lawyers and bad publicity are all these big chains pay attention to.

    Per Will Rogers Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there

    Have you noticed that cops have stopped taking notes… they are using video cameras in their patrol cars… using paper notes… still allows the “shirt” to claim that “… that is not what I said… there must have been some misunderstanding”
    If you notice… anytime you have a meeting with a “shirt” where they want to protect the corporation… you are asked to sign a statement of what you were told.

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