Workers in the state of California and across the nation have the right to speak out against wrong or unlawful acts they witness in the workplace. Whistleblower laws exist to protect employees from retaliation for reporting employer actions that are illegal or violate certain policies. What can be done when an employee is retaliated against or punished for reporting illegal activity? When this happens, legal action may be taken.
A surgical center in Santa Barbara became the focus of a recent lawsuit filed by two former employees that were allegedly terminated for reporting illegal activities. The lawsuit claims that the surgical center intentionally violated medical regulations as well as state and federal laws. Allegedly, the plaintiffs witnessed unsanitary techniques used by the staff and illegal control of drugs such as opiates, which led to unlawful access and possession of these drugs.
The lawsuit also alleges that doctor’s often forced nurses to forge signatures. Allegations of sexual misconduct by a doctor against a patient were also detailed. After making complaints, the plaintiffs claim they were told to ignore the alleged violations. The plaintiffs were later terminated, and they claim their terminations were the result of bringing the alleged illegal activities to light.
Workers at the state and federal level in California and across the country are protected from facing retaliatory acts for voluntarily reporting illegal or dishonest activity. Unfortunately, there are employers that will purposely ignore these laws and punish employees for doing the right thing. Victims of retaliation such as this can pursue legal action. A successful lawsuit could result in just compensation to help with lost wages as well as the pain and suffering associated with unlawful termination.
Source: edhat.com, “Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit Filed Against Santa Barbara Surgical Center“, Nov. 21, 2017