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Director of Veterans Affairs hospital firing overturned by court

When it comes to your career, especially if your work involves a professional license of some kind, you should always consider fighting the charges against you, even if you do not have the support of public opinion in your favor. The truth of the matter is that public opinion and professional review boards are not one and the same, and even if you suffer a public relations fiasco, you may still succeed in beating charges and overturning your suspension or termination.

Just such a surprising turn of events recently occurred for the former director of the Veteran Affairs hospital in Phoenix, who was terminated amidst a public scandal in 2015 that involved VA hospitals generating allegedly false data around the wait times for veterans to receive care. Ostensibly, this false data was intended to improve the public image of the floundering VA, but the scandal did just the opposite.

Using the strength of newly passed legislation, the director was terminated without being offered the opportunity to appeal her termination before the appropriate review board. Now, a federal Court of Appeals has overturned that ruling and several key passages of the legislation used to justify the firing without review. While the termination may stand, the court ensured that the former VA head would receive a proper review.

This case illustrates in a fascinating way just how important it is to fight for your rights, even if everyone believes that you are in the wrong. When you stand up for your rights under the law, you enforce protections against witch-hunt behavior and ensure that legal protections are not only available for those who are publicly popular. An experienced attorney can always help you fight for your rights and the rights of others when you face termination or the stripping of a professional license.

Source: The Arizona Republic, "Ex-Phoenix VA director's firing overturned by federal appeals court," Dennis Wagner, May 09, 2017

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