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A staff nurse was released from a clinic in Kutaisi without warning before the New Year

26.01.2021

 
Manana Vardiashvili

K.D., 36, worked as a staff nurse in the surgical department of Clinic LJ in Kutaisi. On December 25, 2020, she was fired. After that K.D. was called to the clinic and offered to sign a formal written request stating that she was leaving the job voluntarily. The clinic explained to her that where she had no claims against the clinic and signed the application, she would receive GEL 200 monthly allowance from the State for 6 months under the Anti-Crisis Assistance Program. K.D. did not sign the application and applied to Human Rights Center (HRC) for legal aid. 

K.D. (at the request of the respondent her initials were changed) says she was not warned in advance about her dismissal. The clinic did not even pay her a 2-month compensation. 

"I was treated very badly. When having arrived at the place of work on December 25, I was told that I had been fired. They did not take into account the fact that I am divorced and raising two minor children alone. They did not take into account either that despite the pandemic, our department was working at full capacity all year round and I was staying up nights. "I have not received any remarks or reprimands during this period," says K.D. 

According to her, when she asked for the reason of the dismissal, they gave a standard answer: "I was told that the clinic was being reorganized. The real reason is probably that since November - after the coronavirus epidemic worsened and new restrictive regulations came into force, the number of planned surgeries and patients in the clinic has dropped dramatically. Beside me, 13 other persons were released from the clinic."

Ana Chapidze, a lawyer at HRC, claims that the clinic violated the labor rights of K.D. 

„Should K.D. have left the job voluntarily, which the clinic officials tried to formalize by deceiving a former employee, she had to inform about the decision 30 days before leaving the clinic. This was written in the contract with K.D. and she knew it well. K.D. was dismissed without notice. She did not receive a reasoned order for her release. As she was not warned about the release in advance, the clinic is obliged to pay her a 2-month compensation. In the case the clinic refuses to pay the compensation, we shall bring the case before the court,” says Ana Chapidze. 

We also contacted the management of Clinic LJ for comments for humanrights.ge. The director of the clinic, Shalva Jikia, told us that the clinic had not violated labor rights of any of the former employees and referred us to the lawyer of the clinic, Zaza Khazhalia, for detailed information. 

Khazhalia reported to humanrights.ge that the reason for the drop in staff on the part of Clinic LJ was the tough economic situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Clinic LJ is not a covid patients accepting clinic.  Consequently, due to the pandemic, the number of planned surgeries at the clinic was greatly reduced. Due to the difficult situation created, several staff members of the clinic were subject to reorganization. However, this was not a release without prior notice. All employees were offered to be moved to another positions, so that there would be no big difference in salary. This staff nurse refused to work in the offered position. The clinic has reviewed her case and since she refuses the offered position, she will definitely receive a 2-month compensation,” says Khazhalia. 

Ana Chapidze, the lawyer at HRC, disagrees with the opinion of the lawyer of Clinic LJ and states that the clinic has violated the labor rights of K.D.  

„K.D. is a qualified staff nurse. She has a diploma in nursing and has been offered a job of an assistant ward attendant, while in such a case the clinic is required by the law to offer the employee a position appropriate to her education, competence and position held. She, on the contrary, was demoted. Another significant violation is that she was fired on December 25, 2020, and the order dismissing her was written a month later, on January 25, 2021 after K.D following our advice requested a motivated order of her release, and they understood at the clinic that the case might go to the court, and they would inevitably lose the dispute in the court. There is no written order available compensating K.D. which is also a violation."

According to Ana Chapidze, HRC will closely monitor the case and, if necessary, will continue the dispute in the court.

Human Rights Center is implementing the project "Free Legal Advocacy and Human Rights Monitoring after the Coronavirus Pandemic" with the assistance of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia. The aim of the project is to identify the possible violations of human rights  during the state of emergency announced  for the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus and in the post-pandemic period and to raise awareness about the possible violations in Tbilisi and five regions of Georgia: Shida Kartli, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Imereti and Samegrelo.

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