How Hospital Allegedly Sacked Nurses Over Failure To Attend Vigil

Two registered nurses Mrs Mercy Chekwubechi and Charity Ikonne, have accused the management of Davestar Hospital, Ijegun Road, Isheri area of Lagos State of terminating their appointments over failure to attend a night vigil.

The duo who said they were informed about the night vigil after getting the job, noted that they informed the supervisor that their shift at work would prevent them from attending as they believed it to be an invitation-only.

Things however turned ugly when they were told they needed to attend such a service as hospital staff members and that failure to do so could result in payment delays or the cancellation of off days entirely.

According to Chekwubechi, who joined the Hospital on July 1, 2023, the Managing Director of the hospital sacked her after she complained about the compulsion to attend the programme.

She said they were even mandated to undergo casual work such as sweeping and washing the hospital premises.

She said, “We were two nurses that resumed the same day. The two of us are registered nurses, not auxiliaries. I expected him to give me my offer letter immediately after assumption but he didn’t do so until I started asking him. He called me on the third day of assumption and handed the offer letter to me. On August 5, during a meeting with the management, the coordinator asked for the names of staff members who came for the vigil. The list of those who would not take part in cleaning the hospital compound was demanded. We didn’t understand what was going on until then.

“After the meeting, two new nurses and I went to the MD’s office. We told him that it would be difficult to attend vigils when we would resume the morning shift. We complained that he didn’t tell us we would be attending vigils during the time he was interviewing us for the job and reminded him that he told us it was not professional for registered nurses to be sweeping and cleaning the hospital premises. All this time, he already had copies of our licences.

“Later in September, I took permission that my husband who travelled out of town for two weeks would be returning that day and that I wouldn’t be able to attend the vigil. The MD accepted. However, on October 17, he went to my roaster and removed my off days because I failed to attend the previous night’s vigil, which I already took permission for. So, I sent him an email to understand why he would remove all my off days from the schedule. I told him it was not easy to do 10 hours for day duty and still return for an all-night vigil and the same person will still do 10 hours from the following morning.

“When I got to the office the following day for the night shift, his assistant told him that I had resumed work. He instructed the PA to tell me to go back home and that my services were no longer needed. I sent him a message that I got his message that he should pay my one-month full salary because he terminated my appointment. Since then, he never replied my message.”

The other nurse, Ikonne while sharing her experience said the hospital management used nurses for marketing duties and sent them to go out and share the hospital fliers; not for an outreach, without providing them with transport fare.

She said, “I am also owed salary after I left the job, besides the off-day punishment for defiance, the MD would deliberately delay the salaries of staff who did not partake in the vigil. Not long after we assumed duties, a supervisor told us that the hospital was holding its vigil. We told her we were not informed, but she said that it was compulsory for all staff members, adding that failure would lead to dire consequences.

“There was a week I could not attend because I was sick. By the time I resumed duty, all my off days were removed I was told that it was because I didn’t come for the vigil. I left the office in tears. Since then, I have never returned to the place.”

But reacting, the Managing Director whose name was simply given as Akinola dismissed the allegation, saying, “Chekwubechi was sacked due to gross misconduct.

He said: “The hospital has been in operation for over 20 years, and I used to have a Muslim as the head of administration. I have never sacked anyone because he or she did not attend my vigil, and I have repeated several times that Chekwubechi was sacked due to gross misconduct, which I cannot condone….”

Asked why the nurses were not paid salaries after they were sacked, Akinola said, “I am very annoyed with Chekwubechi because what she did was gross misconduct, and that’s why I have ignored all her calls. There is no way one can send such messages to her boss, I can’t do it. Telling me that I am making my office toxic; that I am engaged in workplace slavery; that I cannot engage my children like that; and that if she leaves my workplace, she will still get another good place. Also, she lacks manners, she is aware that we have some challenges in the hospital, which affected our sales, even last month we had to pay workers’ salaries twice. I am still planning to personally invite her.

“She talks of slavery, she had just spent about three months, she had asked for permission from work for at least up to five times, and l never denied her any request to be away from work, and all these permissions, such days were not taken from her off-duty days. Each time I remember that message, l feel annoyed.”

On Ikonne, Akinola said she suddenly stopped working, saying, “I was still encouraging her to return, but she didn’t. If I sacked her, would I be asking her to return? You can ask her.”

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