Can I be fired for not having the proper certification for my job even though I have been working there for 5 months?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be fired for not having the proper certification for my job even though I have been working there for 5 months?

About 2 years ago, I was hired by a family to become a private caregiver to an elderly lady. She lived at home and I am paid through a private insurance group. For a year and a half I assisted her with daily living and provided her companionship. Then her health started to deteriorate a little bit and the family agreed that she should be put in a small assisted living facility. This was about 6 months ago. This small house has a CNA on duty and 5 residents. My patient has her own caregivers to sit with her 24/7, as well as with another patient. I have been sitting with her and caring for her with no problem at the facility. I

have just been informed that in order to keep my job, the facility is requiring all employees who are getting paid through private insurance with the family,

have a CNA. I really wouldn’t have a problem with this besides the fact that I was only informed that I have a month and a half to get it and CNA’s take a couple of months to get. Since I’m in college it’s nearly impossible but I am trying to complete it. I am shocked to hear that after all these months of being at this facility that they are just now informing us of needing CNA’s. Do I have any rights? I have been working for this client for going on 2 years and would hate to be fired while in the process of getting my CNA. I just do not believe it’s fair to give such a short time frame when all employees with my patient have been at this facility for over 5 months. If I was to be fired would I be able to file for unemployment until I get my CNA and find a different job? Do I have any legal grounding to keep my job? Can assisted living facilities that have staffed CNA on shift dictate sitters who are not even paid through them but through the families private insurance? I am sorry for so many questions. I am just really worried about the end of the month because I might be out of a job soon.

Asked on February 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) The private facility can control who helps care for their patients, even if those people are not paid through them, since the facilty has ultimate responsibilty for their care. Allowing people without the correct certifications to work on premises can expose them to liability or void their own insurance, so they can do this.
2) You do not have any grounds to avoid being removed for this basis. The family could look to put the patient into a different facility which would accommodate you, but that would be the only option; they or you cannot make this facilty accommodate you.
3) If you are terminated, then you should be able to file for unemployment benefits.

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 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.

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