Former CPH nurse's hearing ends

A recent hearing investigating allegations of unfair labor practices filed by a former Central Peninsula Hospital nurse who was fired from his post in October 2010 concluded Thursday.

The National Labor Relations Board requested the hearing before an administrative law judge to determine if Ray Southwell’s allegations were true and required action from the federal board. The hearing started on Tuesday and included Southwell, an NLRB attorney and CPH attorneys and officials and others.

The judge did not issue a decision, but John Fawley, attorney for NLRB’s Region 19 said it would likely be several months before the judge does so. Both sides’ legal briefs are due on June 21. Either side can settle the case before the judge’s decision through one of two avenues — with or without the NLRB included, Fawley said.

If the hospital chooses to settle with the NRLB, it would likely mean reinstatement and back pay for Southwell. If CPH settles with Southwell only, the NLRB can give an opinion on the settlement, Fawley said.

“My concerns were expressed during the trial and we’ll see what the judge feels,” Southwell said.

CPH Chief Executive Officer Rick Davis said he had no comment on the hearing.

The NLRB’s cases stem from allegations filed by Southwell detailing the reasons he said he was given for his termination in 2010. Specifically, one of the two charges relates to Southwell’s criticism of CPH’s management style and “bullying” before and after the November 2008 hospital shooting.

A second allegation centers on CPH rules relating to the behavior of employees, their conduct and outside activity that might interfere or conflict with hospital operations.

“We are alleging the action that was taken against him in disciplining him and ultimately discharging him was done on an illegal basis,” said Anne Pomerantz, acting regional director of the NLRB for Region 19, in an April interview. “We are saying the reason underpinning it was unlawful.”

The judge will issue a decision and file a recommended order that will then go to the NLRB board in Washington, D.C. The NLRB seeks “make whole solutions,” including rescission of unlawful rules, rescission of the discipline and reinstatement, Pomerantz said. The judge can agree with all, none or part of Southwell’s allegations.

Southwell said he was happy to have his concerns heard. He said he is more glad to have the case off his chest than he is concerned about the case’s outcome.

“I feel like I’m done,” Southwell said. “I told my wife, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ Unless these nurses tell me that (the bullying) is still going on, then I’ll be back in the media. But I’m done and I can’t do anymore.”

Brian Smith can be reached at brian.smith@peninsulaclarion.com.

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