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Doctor files lawsuit for wrongful termination

It is a well-known fact that resident doctors put in a long day and often get very little sleep, especially when they are on call or involved with emergency medical care. Does this then give hospitals and health care facilities the right to demand that a doctor actually work for days on end without getting any sleep?

This will be the subject of a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a doctor who says she was wrongfully terminated when she complained about being exhausted after working a 96 hour week. The resident was employed as a professor and a part-time obstetrician. Under the terms of her employment she was required to be on call for three days a month. However, when other employees quit, she was left being forced to work between 80 and 96 hours a week.

She then complained to her boss and tape recorded the conversation. She says she was sleep deprived and the hours they were forcing her to work were unlawful. Only a few days later she was fired. She has since been trying to get another job, but she recently found out that her former boss has been telling other prospective employers that she was unprofessional, apparently in retaliation for her complaints about the brutal work hours.

Indiana employees should find this story very interesting if they have been placed in a position of working more hours than is possible without getting exhausted. There are laws that protect employees in these situations. Do not think that the situation is hopeless, seek help and learn about your rights as an employee.

Source: New York Post, "Doc sues for lost sleep, being 'forced' to work up to 96 hours a week," Christina Carrega, Dec. 20, 2011

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