Can my employer make me do a poster board project and present it to my co-workers?

I am a nurse and on my fourth 12 hour shift in a roll one of my patients was found by the nurse tech on the floor. This was the third night that I had taken care of this patient who was exhibiting signs of confusion which I had reported but that fact was being ignored. I also had another confused patient that kept pulling out his IVs and tried to pull out his foley to the point that his was urine had blood in it, this one had a note from a doctor who suggested a sitter but gave no orders for one. While I was busy trying to take care of other issues my patient was found on the floor. He had no apparent injuries and denied falling, he stated that he lowered himself off the bed onto the floor. I was sent an email saying that me and my nurse tech had until January 15th to complete and submit a fall prevention poster to be approved and then we have to present it to our coworkers by January 28. I feel that this is a humiliating punishment for something that may have been preventable only if I could have spent my whole shift taking care of just him. Can they do this and, if so, do I have a right to be paid for the hours spent working on it including the cost of the poster?

Asked on January 5, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Your duty is do whatever your employer tells you to do. Your employer decides what tasks or projects you must do. If you refuse to do this, you could be terminated. It does not matter if think it is unfair, or even if it is in fact unfair--fairness does not enter into it. You must do what your employer tells you to do.
2) Any time spent working on the poster is work time: it is time spent doing something the employer instructed you to do. You must be paid for it if you are an hourly employee.
3) Employers are not required to reimburse employees for materials, supplies, etc. They may choose to pay for the poster, but do not have to.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.