One of the nurses fired from the Washington Hospital Center after failing to report for shifts during February's snowstorm is heading back to work. An arbitrator has ordered the hospital to give her job back.
The arbitrator ruled that Geri Lee's conduct did not amount to the gross misconduct needed for termination, though he did consider it to be insubordination. He ordered that she receive back pay except for a 10-day suspension period.
Ken Zinn, director of strategic campaigns for National Nurses United, says it was a test case for the union.
"We're hopeful that the rationale for awarding this decision for Geri Lee will apply to the other eight nurses who are still without their jobs," he says.
The hospital says it intends to follow the ruling, but in a statement it emphasized a longstanding policy requiring all essential employees to report for work during snow or other emergency situations.