State and federal lawmakers have recognized a patient's "right to choose." However, state and federal law also prohibits discrimination and harassment based upon race, sex, age, disability, and religion, among other protected class categories.
There have been countless nursing home managers, supervisors, and even HR executives, who have committed impolitic comments about employees in email messages. Those comments often become evidence in cases where employees sue employers for alleged forms of harassment and/or discrimination or some variant of wrongful discharge.
The Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments on the unpleasant subject of workplace harassment. At issue is whether an employer is responsible when the bully is not strictly a boss. The court's ruling will be closely watched by nursing homes, where the line between bosses and subordinates often can be blurry. A decision that creates new liabilities could unleash a menagerie of workplace flowchart headaches.