[Histonet] Need info

Jasper, Thomas G. TJasper <@t> smdc.org
Wed Feb 16 12:49:31 CST 2005

Dear Heather,

Your situation raises a lot of questions.  First of all I'm quite certain
since you are an employee of the government (federal) you are bound by
conditions that do not exist in other sectors of employment.  Perhaps you
need to take a look at the contract you work under.  
You mentioned union involvement.  Your statement"...revised work description
of my supervisory duties." is confusing.  Maybe I don't fully understand,
but I am under the impression that if you belong to a union you do not
supervise as that is an administrative/managerial responsibility.  Perhaps
you are viewed as a "lead tech or working charge tech" type of employee so
as not to conflict with your union status?
Your question about being threatened by an employer...administrative
action...being told "you're fired"; if you are indeed a union member you
should be protected against any rash or undocumented action by an employer
of this nature.  You should be discussing this with your union steward.
Again this is unclear as you are a government employee, you have supervisory
duties and yet you reference the union.
What I know as "non-contract" employees are subject to "firing at will",
although this is not possible in any real sense without proper "cause".
Employers do have to be accountable for their actions vis-a-vis employees
and there is the added value placed on good histotechs these days due to
staff shortages.
Based on the information you've provided it seems possible you are being
treated unfairly.  However, I certainly don't know enough about your
situation to definitely say that is the case.  I supervise both union
(contract) and non-union employees.  In management we would not be able to
make any changes to a (union) job description without union knowledge.
Having said that, approximately 2 years ago we did make a change to our
histotech (union) job description, which pertained to grossing in at the
bench.  We added what we call "Minor Gross Dictations" for our histotechs.
We defined "minor grosses" as small endoscopy and dermal biopsies, the work
is still carried out under the direction of our PA or a pathologist.  We did
this for a few different reasons: we had just merged with another facility
and our pathologists thought they might need the help; our PA is also the
administrator of our AP LIS system, at times is pulled away from the bench
coverage is required to keep the operation running; it is also becoming a
standard of care issue as histotechs possess the ability to handle this task
in a knowledgeable and responsible manner.  The reality for us is that
histotechs "occasionally" perform this duty, in most cases when it comes
down to it, due to staff schedules, the task defaults to me.  It works out
for us as there are times when late "rush" cases come in and they can be
added to the evening run when the PA or pathologists are gone.  Keep in mind
that the histotechs are to set cases aside if they believe, due to
complexity, the case should be dictated by the PA or pathologist.  
Please understand that this works for us, everyone is unique and pathology
services will vastly differ one to another.  I don't know what is expected
of you daily as a histotech and what would be expected of you as the
grossing person at the bench.  These factors are defined by the nature and
scope of your service.  To my way of thinking actual grossing bench work is
one job and being a histotech is one job.  Although I don't know your
workflow, I wouldn't expect that you would have to do both, it's probably
too much work and you would be subject to legal limitations.
Sorry for the ramble, I hope this is of some help, please let us know how
this turns out.
Good luck!

Thomas Jasper HT(ASCP)BAS
Anatomic Pathology Coordinator
SMDC Clinical Laboratory
Duluth, MN
tjasper <@t> smdc.org

-----Original Message-----
From: Heather.A.Harper <@t> pcola.med.navy.mil
[mailto:Heather.A.Harper <@t> pcola.med.navy.mil]
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 7:45 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Need info

   I work for the Navy as a civilian histo tech. I have been here for 5 yrs.
And as of Valentine's Day, I got land basted by a pathologist presenting me
with a new and revised work description of my supervisory duties. I got told
that as of April 1st I will have to be trained for 30 days to gross in all
small specimens. This is at no extra pay and I am a GS employee. I felt like
I was done totally wrong, because they went behind my back and threatened me
that if I didn't comply to learning how to gross, that administrative action
will be taken against me. Now remind you I would've been far more receptive
if I had been asked to gross and possibly be upgraded from a GS-7 to a GS-8
or GS-9. But no, I was treated like I was some enlisted navy sailor. I would
like to know if anybody has any information on rights that histo techs have
when it comes to grossing. Can an employer threaten you after working for 5
yrs and tell you if you don't comply, administrative action will be taken
against you. I assume that means...in the board room, and being told "you're
fired". I have the Union involved but any information on employee rights,
regulations etc...would be of great help. Thank you in advance.


Heather A. Harper

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