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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / THOUSAND OAKS

Hospital Settles Case Brought by Nurse

January 30, 1998|TROY HEIE

A registered home-care nurse will receive a new performance evaluation from Los Robles Regional Medical Center after the hospital reached a settlement prior to a labor relations hearing.

Catherine Sullivan became active last summer in urging fellow home-care nurses at the hospital to join Service Employees International Union Local 535, which represents more than 400 registered nurses at the hospital. Sullivan received a poor work evaluation in July for what administrators termed a lack of respect toward her superiors.

Sullivan said her union-organizing activities led to the low marks and she requested a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board.

That hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, but the hospital agreed to settle the case before a decision was reached, said Jim Moreau, field representative of the SEIU's American Federation of Nurses.

"Basically, the NLRB found a memo in Catherine's personnel file that shouldn't have been there. And when the board mentioned that it had 'new evidence' in the case, the hospital settled," Moreau said.

Not only will Sullivan's 1997 evaluation be redone, but a notice to employees will be posted that promises hospital officials "will not discourage membership" in Local 535, and will not "coerce our employees in the exercise of their . . . rights by telling them that they should not go behind the back of management to become involved with the union or any other labor organization," according to the settlement.

The memo placed in Sullivan's personnel file outlined her union-organizing activities, Moreau said. In the settlement, the hospital promises "to expunge from our records any reference" to the memo.

Also, a missing evaluation that gave the nurse positive remarks on Dec. 12, 1996, has been found, the hospital reported, and will be returned to her records.

In a statement Thursday, hospital spokeswoman Kris Carraway said, "The hospital is very pleased that the agreement satisfies both parties."

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