Nurse Fired Due to Blizzard Will Be Reinstated

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    Geri Lee, a nurse at Washington Hospital, was fired after the Feb. 4-7 blizzard prevented her from getting out of her neighborhood in suburban Maryland.

    The hospital had not declared a snow emergency, and didn't offer help to stranded staff. The federal and local governments were closed, as were many private businesses in the area, and many neighborhoods were inaccessible for days.

    But the hospital fired 18 registered nurses, including Lee, who didn't report to work as a result of the storm. It later reinstated nine, and five found other jobs, said Steward Stephen Frum of the National Nurses United union.

    Lee, 54, has now been awarded back pay for all but 10 days of the past 10-plus months.

    "The evidence demonstrated that Lee has an exemplary performance record, having received awards, commendations and testimonials from the employer as well as from patients," wrote attorney Roger P. Kaplan in his decision. Kaplan was selected by the hospital and the union to serve as arbitrator.

    Kaplan also wrote: "The evidence further showed that she has a clean disciplinary record and has not had attendance problems. This is a remarkable record built over 31-plus years of service."


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