Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Corrections Nurse Has Wrongful Termination Reversed

NAPE/AFSCME member Becky Brinson, a Registered Nurse at the Reception and Treatment Center in Lincoln, prevailed in a grievance after being wrongfully terminated by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS).

Becky has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years and has worked for NDCS since 2017. She had never been disciplined in her career when NDCS terminated Becky’s employment based on six allegations that she failed to follow nursing protocol. All of the allegations were untrue. 

“It’s a big deal for a nurse to get fired. There was a threat of losing my license over this which would mean I’d never work as a nurse again,” she said. “I’ve had that license since 1993, and I was a certified medical assistant for 10 years before that. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before so it was a really big shock when I went to work that Friday and, suddenly, I wasn’t going to come back.”

Becky loves being a nurse and is passionate about the care she provides to all of her patients.

“I knew most of my patients really well, especially the ones who I’d been caring for for a long time,” she said. “I imagine it’s hard on the patients too, because I was familiar with them and they were with me. It’s important in this line of work that you establish solid relationships with your patients.”

NDCS failed to provide any evidence that the six allegations were true. Even if it had, none of the allegations were severe enough to warrant termination for an employee who had received no discipline and nothing but satisfactory performance evaluations during her tenure with the State of Nebraska.

“I’m happy I chose to work with our union to fight this,” she said. “I could have settled it before the arbitration hearing, but I wanted to go through with it because I wanted my name cleared. I joined our union when I started this job not knowing if I’d ever need it. But when I did, it felt good to have someone standing up for me.”

At a hearing with an arbitrator, NAPE/AFSCME successfully proved the allegations against Becky were false. Becky was awarded back wages and benefits.

“I want people to know that if they feel they’ve been wrongly accused of something, they can stand up for themselves because, in the end, it might all work out,” she said. “Working with our union to prove I was innocent was more important to me than the money.”

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Nebraska Association of
Public Employees