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In addition to providing vital medical care to patients and facility residents, nurses are often relied upon to advocate for their patients and ensure they receive proper care and treatment. That is why it is vital that nurse whistleblowers have adequate protection from retaliation when they expose wrongdoing on the part of healthcare facilities, medical care providers or other entities involved in the medical industry.
All too often, nurses face retaliation—including losing their jobs, demotion, harassment, or other consequences—for standing up for their patients, even when they have an ethical obligation to report wrongdoing. That retaliation makes it difficult for nurses to come forward, allowing the unethical acts to continue.
At Cutter Law, we have the in-depth knowledge of both whistleblower law and the medical industry to protect the brave nurses who come forward with allegations of wrongdoing. Our attorneys have the extensive experience in whistleblower lawsuits and medical malpractice claims to conduct a meticulous investigation of your claim and ensure whistleblowers receive the protection they need and any compensation they are entitled to for coming forward.
California Senate Bill 322 and Whistleblowing in Healthcare
In July 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 322, designed to protect nurse whistleblowers and other health care facility whistleblowers from discrimination and retaliation. The move came in response to multiple situations in which nurses were fired or faced retaliation—including assault—for reporting legal violations on the part of the health care facilities where they worked.
Under the new law, health care workers can report their concerns to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health without hospital or facility management involvement.
California Nurse Whistleblower Allegations
Nurse whistleblower claims—including nursing home whistleblower allegations— can involve any act of wrongdoing on the part of a medical care provider, facility or third-party (such as a supplier) that violates legal or ethical obligations.
Among some healthcare whistleblower cases whistleblowing in nursing might uncover:
- Falsifying records
- Patient abuse (including elder or dependent abuse)
- Medical malpractice
- Unnecessary medical procedures or treatment
- Retaliation for refusing to violate the law
Qui Tam Healthcare Lawsuits
A qui tam healthcare lawsuit occurs when an individual files a whistleblower claim on behalf of the government against a healthcare provider or others in the industry. In such cases, the individual has direct knowledge of fraud against the government and files allegations under the False Claims Act. The whistleblower—also called the relator—is eligible to receive a substantial amount of any money the government successfully recovers in such a lawsuit.
Employer Retaliation Against Whistleblowing in Nursing
Both state and federal law provide whistleblower nursing protection. Under California law, it is illegal for health facilities to discriminate or retaliate against employees who report or take part in an investigation related to the quality of care, services or conditions at a facility when that investigation is undertaken by an agency responsible for accrediting or evaluating the facility or by a governmental entity.
California law defines a whistleblower as “an employee who discloses information to a government or law enforcement agency, person with authority over the employee, or to another employee with authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation or noncompliance, or who provides information to or testifies before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses:
1. A violation of a state or federal statute,
2. A violation or noncompliance with a local, state or federal rule or regulation, or
3. With reference to employee safety or health, unsafe working conditions or work practices in the employee’s employment or place of employment.” https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/WhistleblowersNotice.pdf
Whistleblowers are also people who refuse to participate in activities that violate state or federal law.
The healthcare whistleblower protection act is found in California Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5, which specifically prevents health facilities from retaliating against employees or patients who are involved in investigations at an accredited health facility. Additionally, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) protects workers from retaliation when they complain to their employer or government agencies about unsafe working conditions.
Nurse Whistleblower Attorneys
Whistleblowers take personal and professional risks to expose wrongdoing, even with extensive protections in place to prevent retaliation. Whistleblower claims are often complex and require an attorney with extensive experience in and knowledge of such lawsuits and how the laws protect individuals.
If you are a nurse and are considering filing a whistleblower claim, you need an attorney with an accomplished track record in whistleblower lawsuits and medical malpractice claims. You need an attorney who is knowledgeable about the medical industry and will not back down, no matter who the claim is against. You need a whistleblower attorney who can manage all aspects of your case and can get you the financial incentives you’re entitled to.
At Cutter Law, we have the proven history of success in whistleblower and medical claims to aggressively pursue a whistleblower lawsuit on your behalf. We will ensure your rights are protected and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Our attorneys have effectively represented whistleblowers in claims against large medical companies including Biotronik and Medtronic, winning millions of dollars for our clients.
If you have direct knowledge of wrongdoing, contact one of the nurse whistleblower attorneys at Cutter Law in Sacramento or Oakland for a no-obligation consultation today. We are a contingency-based firm, meaning that if we accept your case you will pay no fees unless we obtain a monetary recovery.