The Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital saw quite a personnel shakeup at the end of Grey's Anatomy season 15 because Chief Miranda Bailey fired Meredith Grey, Alex Karev, and Richard Webber (Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, and James Pickens, Jr, respectively).
It was understandable why Bailey (Chandra Wilson) took the action she did. Meredith committed insurance fraud by putting her daughter's insurance information down to help a young girl with cancer. It was also understandable why Meredith did what she did. Alex and Richard were fired for having known about the fraud but saying nothing about it. But how permanent can these firings really be?
Nothing but death seems to last on Grey's Anatomy. Couples split, fights end, and people who were fired get rehired. Meredith herself has already been fired and brought back to the hospital. In season 8, Meredith lost her job because she tampered with a clinical trial for Alzheimer's. Basically, this involved Meredith switching the placebo with the actual drug so she could ensure that Richard's wife Adele (Loretta Devine) was getting the real treatment. Ultimately, though, she was re-hired after Richard took the fall for Meredith and resigned as chief so she could be reinstated. Meredith was also suspended in season 13 for telling Bailey that she didn't like the new doctor, Eliza Minnick (Marika Domińczyk), that Bailey had hired. A couple of episodes later, she was back.
Alex, too, has been suspended before. When he was waiting trial for assaulting Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) in season 13, Bailey suspended him, pending the court outcome. DeLuca eventually dropped the charges and Alex came back to work. And, in season 6, when Richard began drinking again, the hospital told him he could permanently leave or he could go to rehab. He eventually sobered up and returned to work.
Those aren't the only characters who have broken major laws or made major mistakes that got them fired. April Kepner (Sarah Drew) got fired in season 6 for killing a patient in a way that could have been prevented. She was hired back when Derek (Patrick Dempsey) became chief. Bailey even suspended her own husband Ben Warren (Jason Winston George) in season 12 after he performed unsupervised surgeries. He returned after a few months.
Basically, being fired on this show is almost a rite of passage, and it's almost never permanent — especially for three core characters like Meredith, Alex, and Richard. Along with Bailey, they're the only ones left from season 1 of this show. They can't possibly be going anywhere forever, right? Not when the series was just renewed through season 17. There is no Grey's Anatomy without Meredith Grey, and the people Bailey fired are some of her favorites on staff. Richard is her mentor for goodness sake.
Sure, this will play out as a storyline for a while, no doubt. But, by the end of season 16, all three of them will be back to practicing medicine, because this is a TV show and it's not always realistic. Sure, Meredith committed insurance fraud and Alex and Richard knew. But, there are worse things you can do in the Grey's Anatomy universe than help a sick child. If Izzie (Katherine Heigl) could survive cutting the LVAD wire, Meredith and Co. can survive this too.