State Worker Fired For Sleeping At Work Wants Job Back

A state worker is fighting to regain her job after she was fired for falling asleep at work -- five times.

The News & Observer reports Wednesday that state documents show Elsie Hinton had four prior warnings dating to 2003 before she was fired from the Transportation Department in July. Her dismissal also was based on using an agency van without approval.

Hinton says she suffers from sleep apnea, a condition that prevents her from getting uninterrupted sleep and requires her to use a breathing device at night. She said the device was malfunctioning and her bosses knew of her condition.

Hinton earned more than $55,000 as an artist in the communications office. The state Office of Administrative Hearings is handling her discrimination complaint.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by State Employee Location: Greenville on Mar 7, 2009 at 03:07 AM
    Must be nice to live up in Raleigh with all the dumbocrats and get paid $55 K to sleep. Looks like she had plenty of time to get her "problem" looked at and with her FREE state insurance and paid days off there was not reason not to -- look for more firings like this to help Bev balance the budget.
  • by BBQ Lover Location: Greenville on Mar 5, 2009 at 11:07 PM
    WITN Moderator: Will you please delete my comment on March 5, '09 at 1:54am. Thanks!
  • by Robert Humberstone, Sr. Location: NC on Mar 5, 2009 at 07:47 PM
    Looks like this may be worthy of an arrest and incarceration. Here's hoping that they pursue her stealing that van further, and she does hard time for grand theft. At the very least, the state should sue her for backpayment of salary, and put her on the streets.
  • by Sarah Location: Fayetteville, NC on Mar 5, 2009 at 07:57 AM
    Good one Mike from Edenton. lol. Well, if this lady has sleep apnea then she may wanna look for a different job. Anyhow, the state needs to check up on some of these night-shift nursing home workers and there are lives depending on these people. NO COMMENT THERE.
  • by I think I'll try it on Mar 5, 2009 at 07:37 AM
    I think I'll try closing my eyes to ________ (fill in the blank excuse) at work and I'm sure my boss will totally buy into the fact that she is not medically qualified to say I'm asleep or not. Yep that will happen. I'm not criticizing the post that nurses cant say that in their documentation. I believe you, but I dont think that has anything to do with this situation. This is their employee, not their patient. They have no loyalties to employees at all anymore. In my world (in a medical office too), I either do my job, or I get fired and they will find someone who will do the job. If I'm not able to work, I'm expected to take a sick day or day without pay. My boss would dearly love to catch someone sleeping. She sneaks around corners and hides behind walls to eavesdrop in the hopes of catching someone doing any little thing she can call you out for. Maybe I just need to get a state job, lol. I work part-time and today is a day off so I'm not goofing off at work!
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Mar 5, 2009 at 06:47 AM
    To Rob of Greenville you are right about that, but the State law needs to change because that is one of the real screwed up laws. I know that state law needs to be that the higher up officials must have a good reason why to fire someone. If I was her and could not get that job back, I would sue the state for that wrongful and unfair act. I would do the same thing if I was Trooper Ronald Ezell. He got cheated out by those crooks.
  • by Brad Location: Winterville on Mar 5, 2009 at 06:46 AM
    RN, It appears from your post that you are 'sleep writing'. Better wake up and get back into reality.
  • by ace Location: plymouth on Mar 5, 2009 at 06:28 AM
    I have use a breathing machine and all you need to do is call the representative of the machine and the problem will be corrected. If the truth be known, she was not using the machine to its full extent. Besides she was warned several times and did not take corrective action. What was she going to do, wait until she had an auto accident and hurt someone else before taking correct acdtion?
  • by RN Location: raleigh on Mar 5, 2009 at 05:54 AM
    As nurses we cant even say in our documentation that a patient is or is not asleep, only that they appear asllep with eyes closed etc. Reason is how do we know if someone is asleep or not? She should say she was meditating, praying, or closing her eyes to envision her next work of art since her job involved art. How is her supervisor authorized to say shes asleep or not when nurses cant. Only a doctor with an eeg hooked up can say for sure you r asleep. Whats next a device to measure number of times blinked per hour and then salary reduction for each minute with eyes closed? Of those supervisors who wrote her up statistically theres a good chance at least one is a smoker who takes a smoke break each hour of longer than the 4 minutes she slept
  • by BBQ Lover Location: Greenville on Mar 4, 2009 at 10:54 PM
    My mother is a retired state employee since 'o6. She never had time to sleep on her job! She was a job placement specialist for the Division of the Blind Services.
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