Question - need advice soon, if possible

  1. I can't get too detailed, but a coworker has been accused by a pt of making a racist statement. Long story short, it wasn't. Nonetheless, mgt is telling him he MUST write a letter of apology to the offended party.

    Assuming he does so, does this potentially open him up to further action from either the pt or mgt since apologizing is essentially admitting that there was wrongdoing?

    OR, should he write a brief non-committal letter to the effect of sorry that you *took offense*.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   LasVegasRN
    I think a non-comittal letter stating something to the effect that the comment or comments that were made were not intended to offend and apology for any confusion that it may have caused.
  4. by   l.rae
    if l truley didnn't do it...l'd quit before l would appologise for something l didn't do....l am assuming the offending party has already tried to explain and it didn't go well.....so why try again in writing?....just my thoughts.......LR
  5. by   B.Wilhelm
    I would have to agree with LasVegasRN. In writing this type of letter, he wouldn't actually be appologizing for the racist comment that wasn't made to begin with. However, it would let the person know that no offense was intended. I think he would show who's the better person as well.
  6. by   Stargazer
    Agree with Vegas. Also, co-worker might say something to the effect of, "I deeply regret that you perceived the intent of my comment/comments to be racist, as this does not reflect my beliefs whatsoever, and I sincerely apologize for any discomfort or offense this perception may have caused you."
  7. by   jevans
    I totally agree with Las Vagas on this

    At the end of the day a non commital letter is not going to hurt anyone.
    The pt may have completely misinterpreted the conversation BUT I think that co worker should also provide a covering letter to mgt stating that whilst I believe the situation to be .................... I am prepared to act in a professional manner that shows I am committed to my pts and work place, and provide you with this letter.
    However I adamently refuse to accept that I spoke in this manner as I strongly believe in ...........................

    Hope this helps
    j
  8. by   Nurse Ratched
    Very helpful on the wording, folks. Thanks for the assist, as always . "Confusion" based on a "perception" - so perfect!

    Lrae, I hear what you're saying. The offended party is insisting on a written apology. The person does not feel in a position to leave his job right now (he's not a nurse, unfortunately.) So he's doing what he feels he "has" to do for now. I'm sure that he'll be looking for the first decent opportunity out now. Shame that an employee of unblemished standing can have this negative stigma attached to him over an unsubstantiated statement.
  9. by   rebelwaclause
    How about if your co-worker writes the non committal apology letter with a clause that management agrees (in writing) his letter will produce no future/further punitive actions?

    CYA CYA CYA!!!!!
  10. by   JonRN
    You guys are sooooooooo smart. I am in awe of you whenever I read threads like this. I wish I had had your advice for a situation (not racially connected) that I found myself in a few years ago. I chose to resign. It was when I was doing case mgmt., the Co. thought I was attempting to steal their business, when all I did was answer an ad in the paper and some "person" ratted me out. No big deal, I was looking to quit anyway.

    Pappy
  11. by   nursegoodguy
    But doesn't it just suck that management is NOT willing to stick up for you when nothing happened! And to top it off YOU have to write some apology letter for... NOTHING? The patient should be writing the letter of apology if anyone should!
    Okay I'll stop...
  12. by   hoolahan
    Giuseppe, ITA!!!!! I am with lrae on this one. I would NOT go along with this period. If I had an unblemished record, that should be enough to speak for itself. Frankly, I would refuse to cooperate, then, let management fire me, and I'd collect unemployment until I could find a new job.

    I think the customer service ass-kissing has to stop at some point. I mean, does this mean anyone can just say anything they want and put someone's livelyhood at risk? That is just cr@p, and I would NOT work another minute longer than I had to for someone who would treat my integrity as such shyt!!! Shameless!!!!!!! No wonder people are leaving healthcare by the droves!
  13. by   Nurse Ratched
    Well, folks - co-worker slept on it and came in this morning, thanked (you all) for your help and said he'd decided he wasn't going to write the letter after all. Mgt made the mistake of telling him on a Friday and he had the weekend to think about it and get as justifiably righteously indignant as we are. I'll keep you posted.
  14. by   Gardengal
    I agree with the many respondents that a non-committal response would be best, if the individual chooses to do as management wishes. If I were writing the letter I too would say something along the lines of " I am truly sorry that you interpreted or perceived my comments as racist, as they truly were not intended in that manner. I am writing this letter of apology in accordance to your wishes because I would never want you to think that I intentionally would make remarks of that nature...."
    I do however think it was out of line for 'management' to require such a letter. As a manager myself, I believe that management should have assumed this responsibility. I believe that the letter should have come from the department manager or nursing executive. It should have stated that they were sorry for the misunderstanding and the individuals perception, but that after thorough investigation they have discovered that the comments which were felt to be racist were not intended in that manner.
    They would further state that they would discuss the issue with the employee to avert any future misperceptions....My feel on this is that if something was taken as rascist, perhaps the individual speaking probably said something in a joking manner which was misperceived. Most people don't intend to offend, but sometimes do because of a lack of awareness of cultural issues, persons in hearing range or a variety of other reasons.
    It's usually better to say-I'm sorry you took it that way , it was not my intent-as opposed to arguing which just increases anger.
    I wish this individual well. It was probably a long and thoughtful weekend. I would suggest, since he's decided not to write the letter that he make an appointment with the manger and state his opinion that he feels that the letter would have more clout coming from administration, and would prefer they write the letter....and that he has no problem with an apology regarding a perceived racist remark.

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