I work night shifts with a co-worker who would always sleep or never be at work. We are both nurses.

She is friends with the administrator (our boss) who showed her signs of extreme favoritism on many occasions such as having my Christmas leave canceled in favor of my co-worker's. I believe they were friends.

I surreptitiously videoed her sleeping at work with my phone. After two months of encouraging her to improve, I anonymously sent the video to corporate and included details about her not working. I also included details about the administrator's favoritism. Shortly after this, my phone disappeared at work, and I think my co-worker may have stolen it.

After a few weeks, my co-worker was was fired because of my report.

Now the administrator and all the staff don't talk to me. Everybody hates me. My Facebook friends who are my coworker's friends do not respond to my posts anymore.

I feel under extreme stress. I am not sleeping or eating well. I'm trying so hard to not make any mistakes cause I think they will use it to get rid of me.

What should I do?

Part of this question has been removed to make it easier to answer the core question. To see the full back story, please see the revision history.

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    I've tried to create a short version and format a long version. I really didn't want to try to figure out what to cut out. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 14:21
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    @GregoryCurrie I've removed the long version as it's easier to concentrate on answering the core question than reading the back-story. If anyone does need to see the back story, please see the revision history. If there's anything missing that should be restored, please feel free to edit it back in (but be brief). Thanks.
    – user44108
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:09
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    An edit that removed certain things removes almost all connection between the question and top answer... You're not getting your phone back??? Don't worry about Facebook??? What??? Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 17:29
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 22:44
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    I voted to close this question because there's no actual question in it. The OP did everything right. They need to cope with the pressure and stress, or get a new job if they can't. It's noble to comfort the OP by writing nice things, but it's not really "answering". Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 8:58

6 Answers 6


My takeaways in (rough) reverse order of importance:

You're not getting your phone back. If you can disable the login remotely, you should do that. Though you phone is probably at the bottom of a river by now.

Don't worry about Facebook Sometimes with social media we can look for patterns that are simply not there. This could be happening now.

You didn't have real friends if they are going to not talk to you now, they were never your friends. It's good that you know the truth now, as much as it hurts. Try to talk to a few of your coworkers, the ones you think you can trust the most. One-on-one is best. Talk about how you're feeling. If they don't care, they are not your friends.

You helped your coworkers You whistle-blowed on your boss, and your boss was doing the wrong thing. You saved many of your co-workers from having to deal with this, and the administrator will have to be more professional in the future.

You protected the patients health There are reasons why there are multiple staff working the hospital at night. Should something happen to you, maybe fatigue causes you to make a mistake, be inattentive, miss something, there is no check and balance in place to protect the patient health.

You protected the hospital. A follow on from the previous point, should something have happened to a patient, the family sued and in court it showed that a person entrusted with their care was sleeping or not even present, the hospital would probably be looking at a large payout. This is especially true if the person not being present meant that the hospital was not meeting minimum legal standards.

You have an ally which is Corporate. You should get in touch with them to see if they can find you placement elsewhere. You can explain the situation to them, and let them know you were the whistleblower. You can let them know you think that they figured out it is you. You should also speak to the fact that you did the work of two people on many nights, and are a hard worker, but cannot work in this environment. Explain that you are hoping to get another chance elsewhere.

What's done is done. You will debate with yourself what you should have done, but what's done is done. You acted with courage, and you are paying a price. It's not fair. But you have integrity.

You're under extreme stress but not all is lost. I know at times it feels like everything is a mess. The administrator doesn't like you, but she can't find a reason to get rid of you. This must mean you're a great worker.

Eat. Even if you don't feel hungry, force yourself to. Now is not the time to get sick. Don't make your body suffer, just because you mind is suffering.

It's time to work elsewhere There is nothing left for you there. You have a lot of good qualities, work ethic and empathy towards those doing you wrong to name a few. Even if Corporate can't help you, you need to look elsewhere.

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    Great point on reaching out to Corporate for help finding a new job; OP absolutely is right to have reported this person (even if reporting it locally could've been done first) and it's likely that Corporate appreciates it. Also good to recognize that a company can still be a good place to work even when one situation at that company has soured.
    – dbeer
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:04
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    It might also be worth raising the missing-phone issue with corporate, to see if there are further avenues of investigation they can take. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:21
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    @Ferrybig: a giant edit to the question removed all the context and left a very generic question that doesn't even mention what kind of job it is. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 19:44
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    @DanubianSailor Spies and whistleblowers are no the same thing.
    – forest
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 23:51
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    @DanubianSailor underperforming coworker is your company's problem, not your problem. Yes it is, if the company is taking your benefits to give to the underperformer and expecting you to pick up the slack. Yes it is, if the quality of the job that you share responsibility for is being compromised. As a nurse, yes it definitely is, if patient care standards aren't being met due to the underperformer. Also, I'm curious as to how you think the company is supposed to become aware of their problem if dodgy actors have the ability to obscure the effects of underperformance from corporate.
    – mcalex
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 5:51

At this point, you need to go to HR again, and claim your boss is retaliating against you for pointing out your co-worker was sleeping or not at work.

Be sure to use the word retaliation as in the U.S. (and several other countries) laws protect whistle blowers from reporting unsafe working conditions. What you are experiencing is retaliation and any half-decent HR department will perk up the moment they hear that word.

Begin looking for a new job now!

Even if HR is on your side, there is a good chance your old manager will have connections, and will keep you from getting raises and promotions - and this is one of the better outcomes.

In many cases HR is already in the managers pocket, and they'll make your life terrible so you'll quit on your own, or fire you if that doesn't work. Going to HR usually gives you some breathing room, so use that.


Having your phone stolen is retaliation. This is now in the revision history.


This is certainly a whistle-blower case. While I would bet money that either the boss or the fired employee stole the phone, it's hard to prove. Either way, go to HR to get as much protection as possible during your job search.

The reaction from staff is pretty common - no one likes to be called out on bad behavior.

If this had not been a hospital (or other situation where people's health and lives were on the line), then the OP could have just not done the other person's job and let the higher-ups deal with it. In this case letting patients suffer due to an absent nurse would have been unethical.

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    Just for the record, I don't see anything there than indicates overt retaliation. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 14:48
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    @GregoryCurrie Now the administrator and all the staff don't talk to me. It's hard to say whether Everybody hates me can be proven or not because sometimes in these situations your imagination can conjure up all kinds of things that aren't real but I would think people not talking to you is pretty provable... and it started after the incident. Who knows what else is going on behind the scenes too...
    – JeffC
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 16:04
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    @GregoryCurrie - You might want to read the question again. The description provided by the author is a classic example of retaliation. Even if it isn't actually retaliation, at the very least it could be considered bullying, which is also illegal in many countries.
    – Donald
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 16:20
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    @jamesqf in addition, I don't think laws can make people talk to you. Albeit amusing, I don't think the police will come and instruct the coworkers to talk to OP and don't be mean when doing it.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 19:29
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    Consider that hospitals may have legal obligations for level of care. If a software company allows their workers to get drunk on a Friday and go home early that's purely their issue. If a hospital does the same that's almost certainly a crime. The hospital should be (and probably is) glad that the asker went to them and not the police or whichever authority is in charge of hospitals.
    – Eric Nolan
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 10:00

In the original "wall of text" version of this post, you reported that someone stole your phone (presumably the coworker you caught sleeping). Do not hesitate to report this to the police. Stealing your phone is a CRIME. Additionally, ask the police to use any resource your phone company or smartphone builder has to help you locate where it is or where it had been.

A nurse who steals phones is also a nurse who steals wallets. When you're in the hospital, the last thing you need is to have to replace all your credit cards and ID's; it may be simply impossible to do so. They ask me for ID everytime they ask to see my insurance card; if both those had been stolen I would not be able to get the care I needed to get well enough to reach the DMV and get a replacement license. So this isn't merely about stealing the $100 in the wallet, it's about denying care.

You might hit the jackpot and geolocate it to your boss's desk, because if a police officer fishes it out of his desk, then the hospital would be in Very Big Trouble because their staffer aided a crime and cover-up in a whistleblowing situation and that makes them responsible for it. You could build a case against the hospital which may allow you to "cash in"; you might lose that litigation but they'd definitely lose in legal fees alone. HR would not want to take the risk of that, so they'd be inclined to be very accommodating in terms of placing you in a workable position.

The whistleblowing itself is very serious business, and most states have powerful laws to protect whistleblowers. Your boss doesn't owe you any friendship, so you have no standing to complain if he's merely cold. But if his reactions to you are interfering with your ability to do your job, that is retaliation, and state laws are especially harsh on retaliation to whistleblowing.

There is a type of thing called "constructive termination" where a person is made to feel so uncomfortable in their job that they can't stand it and quit. That is commonly seen in response to whistleblowing, and it is basically a textbook case of retaliation. The courts are very familiar with it. (As is the unemployment office, so if you quit because of constructive termination, you have a good shot at unemployment benefits and a small legal victory).

  • The OP might want to buy a new phone and leave it in an easily-to-steal place ... after installing location-monitoring software. Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 15:41
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    I doubt the phone was stolen for profit, but rather because of the video it contained. Thus I see no reason to think the nurse is a threat to wallets. Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 1:06
  • @LorenPechtel The nurse feels entitled to steal time, because she feels sleepy. She felt entitled to steal a phone, because she felt threatened. What happens when she feels threatened by an unexpected car repair? (Let's face it, she's working night shift and she's exhausted because she has a day job, because she can't make ends meet without them). Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 4:39
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    Your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs start with assumptions and then go into the (possible) consequences of those. I don't think these kind of speculations should be in an answer.
    – user8036
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 10:13
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    What data should they be collecting if they want to claim "constructive termination"?
    – Mazura
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 1:19

The original version of this question mentions that you are a nurse who works night shifts. I have a lot of experience with family members who work as nurses and I know exactly where you are coming from. Nursing is an industry full of people who care a lot about other people more than they care about themselves. Nurses accept poor working conditions so that their patients don't suffer. They won't strike because then the patients will suffer. I completely understand where you're coming from and why you did what you did.

As for the core of the question that is left:

There's a phrase that "nurses eat their young". Almost every nurse I know has worked in a hostile environment at sometime. Some of them worked in hostile environments for years at a time. There's never been a fix for the hostile environment apart from moving to another ward, or if it's a small hospital, moving to another hospital. Nursing is full of systemic issues that are unlikely to change any time soon.

I don't know if your nurses are unionised or if you're a member of a nurses union, but if you are in this situation the union might be your friend. Nurses unions are (in my experience) not tolerant of your former co-workers behaviour and although the situation could have been handled differently, they should be on your side.

In short:

  • Talk to your union
  • Move to another ward

I'm sure everyone here has to same thoughts. You did the right thing, and your ex-colleague got what they deserved. Nobody should be able to cheat a living.

You've made a bold statement in:

Everybody hates me

Unless you can prove this, you should avoid mentioning it... to anyone. I doubt you will ever be able to prove this.

I'm trying so hard to not make any mistakes cause I think they will use it to get rid of me.

Don't worry about this. Do your job as you would. EVERY human being, makes mistakes. If you make small mistakes and they fire you, then it just shows you shouldn't be working here anyway.

I would recommend looking for a new job whilst you have this one and use it as your income source until you find a new post.

If you feel everyone hates you, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it unless they act on this but even then problems will still arise. Unfortunately these things happen, bad things happen to good people who genuinely work hard for their living.

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    Don't worry about making mistakes when you believe that your boss is looking for an excuse to get rid of you? That is very optimistic.
    – elaforma
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 16:21
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    "it just shows you shouldn't be working here anyway", this is not wrong, but some people work in markets where getting a new job is not exactly easy or quick, hence one can keep looking for a new job for years, to no avail. Thus, as an employee, decisions in the workplace should always be taken considering that the current job is the only one available, up until a formal job offer elsewhere is received.
    – Mefitico
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 20:01
  • Every human makes mistakes, true. But if some human is filming other humans making mistakes to make them fired, he/she shouldn't expect tolerance for own mistakes. Nobody likes denunciators. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 22:58
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    @DanubianSailor "denunciate: publicly declare to be wrong or evil" This is different from a private statement of fact: "this person is sleeping on the job". If you're going to use a word over and over again, you should understand what it means. Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 12:02
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    Sleeping on the job is hardly a "mistake". This is a crucial error and should never be done unless permitted. Doing no work is not a "mistake" it is doing no work. You can't make a mistake if you're not doing anything.
    – Twyxz
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 12:16

This is an addition to the other answers that have been made so far, and concerns some important things to do once you will have started working elsewhere (which you probably will).

Don't try to hide what you have been doing in your new job, be the master of your narrative.
Nurses' world is a small world, and soon or late your new colleagues will know about the story.

Make sure that they hear your side of the story first. This can be a story of a desperate, ethical nurse, that did all (s)he could to prevent a colleague from working unaceptably bad, and to prevent patients from enduring the consequences of an unacceptable behavior from a co-worker with hierarchy cover.
Or it can be the story of a corporate snitch.

When you get your new job, let the colleague(s) you have a good feeling with, and which look to have an ethical job culture, know about the story.
Some keypoints:
- The dimension of the abuse: 'In ** years, I had never even heard of a nurse sleeping 3 hours, and then going with her boyfriend to her house during her shift. It was so big that I hardly could believe it'.
- The fact you tried for several months to shake your ex-colleague.
- The collusion with hierarchy which prevented you from reporting it on a lower level.
- The fact that you'd never need to do that in your new team. Your new colleagues need to know that you're not a threat to them, but a solid, caring colleague. Let them know that this was an absolutely desperate move that cost you a lot, and that you react normally to minor issues.

Once your new team is on your side, you can start forgetting about it, and so they will. And you'll know that whoever comes up with the snitch story won't find any open ears.

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