She Said, I Said - You Fired Me. No, You Quit.

September 27, 2010

Was there a way to document the quit versus fire conversation? I typed up a description of the event as I recall it, but as she said, it's her word against mine. Should I lawyer up?

My receptionist was on vacation, so it was just me and my medical assistant. Now, I have had problems with her performance in the past, but she was good with the patients and she was functional in her job. Just don’t ask her to go beyond it.

So anyway, as work got behind, and faxes weren’t being faxed, and I was taking messages off the phone that had been sitting there for hours, I started getting testy. So she asked me if she had done any thing wrong. To which I responded, "It's that there are things that need to get done that aren't getting done." That is where our stories diverge.

Scenario 1:

MA: "Excuse me? I’m alone here."

Me: "I understand that you're alone but that doesn't mean work doesn't need to get done."

MA: "I'm the only one here."

Me: "When Receptionist is here alone, work still gets done."

MA: "The last couple of days have been horrible. If this is the way it's going to be, I can't work here anymore."

Me: "OK, so two weeks?"

MA: "Yes, two weeks. If that's what you wanted, why didn't you just say so?"

Me: "It’s not what I wanted, it's what you wanted. You just said you can't work here."

Then for the last week, MA has been filing her nails, playing on her phone, and surfing the net at work. She has also been hanging out with our boarder phlebotomist, telling Receptionist she can handle the phones. She has continued to be polite and pleasant with the patients and has been going through the motions and doing the basic requirements of her job. I told myself, it's only a couple more days. And I had the good fortune of being sent a lovely young woman with glowing recommendations from another office where she is working part-time, so I have found a replacement to start next week.

Today, I asked her if she plans to continue her health coverage on her own, as my broker needs to know. She said that since I fired her, she assumed I would cover it. I told her that I didn’t fire her, she quit.

Scenario 2:

MA: "I'm alone here."

Me: "Receptionist does a better job than you."

MA (under her breath): "I can't take it anymore."

Me: "I'm giving you two weeks notice."

She denied saying she couldn’t work here anymore, denies saying it was horrible. And she said it was her word against mine. She claims that we have not been nice to her since she started 10 months ago, and that she stayed for our sake, because she didn’t want to leave us alone. If I wasn’t so angry, I would have laughed. Then, she went on about how I was a liar and unprofessional, etc, etc. So she relinquished her keys and I told her to make sure she left any patient information she had, and she left. I expected her to slam the door, but instead she just left it hanging wide open.

So I ask, was there a way to document the quit versus fire conversation? I typed up a description of the event as I recall it, but as she said, it's her word against mine. Should I lawyer up? Rumor has it that she already has a new job.