A Kaiser Permanente nurse in California has alleged that she lost her job after refusing to cover up a patient’s death that was caused by inadequate medical care. The woman says that the medical facility in Fontana had been poorly designed for patient care because of the location of the nursing resources. As a result, a young patient died from a preventable condition. The woman explains that she suffered a retaliatory dischargeafter protesting about patient safety problems at the facility.

Reports show that the woman was on duty in late May 2013 when a 3-year-old girl was admitted into her wing of the hospital. The plaintiff said that part of the hospital was poorly designed because the nurse in the emergency bed area was unable to effectively monitor patients’ vital signs. A nurse who was dealing with an emergency in the area would also be isolated from other medical professionals if help was needed.

The woman’s fears were proven reasonable on May 26, when the child was admitted into that wing of the hospital. The woman said she complained that day that the child should have been placed in another room, but her protests went unheeded. The child began experiencing medical problems after the woman returned from her break, and she was unable to summon help. A series of mistakes by other physicians then led to the child’s death.

Even though the woman had consistently received praise for her work, she was terminated when she refused to participate in an alleged scheme to cover up the death. This is not a new story; scores of California workers suffer retaliatory discharge simply because they try to do the right thing. These victims deserve compensation for their emotional and financial distress that may have been caused by the untimely loss of employment.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Kaiser Nurse Blames Firing on Patient Care” Tish Kraft, Apr. 22, 2014


A former utility worker has received $1.3 million in a California wrongful termination suit. The worker, who had been employed by SDG&E, claimed that he was a victim of retaliatory discharge after he revealed that the company was unfairly targeting households in the low-income category. Those clients were targeted because they provided additional money through fees related to delinquent bills.

News reports show that the man complained about the unfair practices. Lower-income populations in central San Diego were being targeted for the official delinquency notices, which can result in customers being charged $9 per notice. Those notices were hand-delivered only in low-income areas, according to courtroom documents.

The plaintiff in this case said he is pleased that the utility will be required to stop its discriminatory practices. He said that the wrongful termination claim was not simply because of the money; the man actually wanted to make a difference and blow the whistle on unethical activities. He said he is happy that the jury understood the implications of the utility company’s alleged misdeeds. It appears that SDG&E intends to appeal the decision, claiming that the man lost his job after failing to comply with corporate policies.

Workers who have the courage to pursue filing a complaint against illegal activity should not be subject to retaliatory discharge. Those victims may be entitled to financial compensation and other damages, which could even include getting their jobs back. A California employment attorney may be able to assist these individuals with civil cases against unscrupulous employers, allowing victims to pursue wrongful termination claims and other complaints. Workers should not have to suffer financial hardship because of the illegal and unethical actions of their employers.

Source: KFMB 760, “Ex-SDG&E employee awarded $2.1M in lawsuit” No author given, Mar. 26, 2014


A wrongful termination suit out of Fresno, California, has revealed alarming accusations of negligence related to open-heart surgery. The suit, which alleges retaliatory discharge, was filed by a former manager at the Community Regional Medical Center. She claims that she was wrongfully terminated, because she protested against the physician’s unsafe and unprofessional behavior.

News reports indicate that the man is accused of walking out of an open-heart surgery procedure before the patient was stable. Now, lawsuits allege that this practice was common for the man. Even more alarming is the fact that hospital officials may have known that the man was violating protocol, but no one made moves to stop him. The woman claims that she was laid off, along with a number of other staff members who had protested, because she was seen as a barrier to financial success for the facility.

The physician is also facing a civil suit from the family of one of his patients. The doctor is accused of leaving a physician assistant to close the victim’s chest in April 2012. When the man began to bleed, he suffered cardiac arrest. That man has been in a persistent vegetative state ever since the botched surgery.

The doctor in this case is known as being one of the highest-volume surgeons in the state of California. He is, in fact, in the top five physicians of his kind in the state, when total number of procedures is considered. Suspiciously, his patient death rate is also much worse than the statewide average.

No one should have to suffer the loss of their job because they report wrongdoing, especially if that questionable behavior could cost patients’ lives. Victims who have been wrongfully dismissed may benefit from the assistance of a California employment attorney. These professionals may help clients learn more about their legal rights and options for recovering lost wages and other damages

Source: The Fresno Bee, “Accusations mount against Fresno doctor accused of leaving surgery” Barbara Anderson, Mar. 01, 2014


A federal judge has ruled that a California social worker cannot successfully file all claims in a retaliation case against the hospital that fired her because she received a death threat. The woman, who had worked at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, was disciplined because she acted on a rumor that a patient of another therapist said he wanted to murder her. The woman had sought a restraining order against that patient, even though she was subject to disciplinary action because she inappropriately looked at the man’s medical records. The woman had been seeking compensation for retaliatory discharge in connection with the case.

Further, the woman alleged that Kaiser Permanente let her go in May 2012 after she reported a dangerous workplace environment. Her employer accused her of permitting a suicidal patient to travel to a hospital without supervision.

The judge in the case dismissed two of eight counts in the matter, determining that breach of contract and retaliation did not occur. He said that the social worker did not provide sufficient evidence that violation of the California Whistleblower Protection Act had occurred in this instance. Further, the woman is not protected by her union’s collective-bargaining terms, which expired before the alleged retaliatory actions.

The woman is still seeking financial compensation for emotional distress, wrongful termination, discrimination and a variety of other employment-based concerns. In this case, she is prevented from filing certain claims because of the nature of the evidence. However, since she can still pursue damages for other wrongs, the case has not been dismissed entirely. Victims who have been exposed to workplace safety violations, discrimination or harassment may benefit from consulting a California employment attorney. Those professionals can help workers learn more about their legal rights and provide them with the information they need to maximize the outcome of their cases.

Source: Courthouse New Service, “Ex-Kaiser Worker’s Retaliation Claim Nixed” Barbara Leonard, Dec. 26, 2013


A former energy company worker has received more than $1 million in a California claim for wrongful termination. The 44-year-old man, a former employee at PG&E, said he was fired after making complaints about safety concerns on the job. Jurors in the case agreed that the company did not have a legitimate cause for termination of the man’s employment. The man received nearly $1.1 million in connection with lost wage claims, along with lost benefits allegations and those for emotional distress.

Official reports show that the man became concerned about on-the-job safety after he was ordered to take unsafe actions during an electrical pole repair in 2011. The man’s supervisor told the power line workers and his colleagues to repair the power lines without shutting off the electricity to the poles. However, the high-voltage wires nearly touched during the repair. Had that occurred, a massive explosion could have occurred.

Even though no one was hurt in the incident, it could have been considered a safety near-miss. Further, another PG&E crew had opted out of doing the work because they found it too dangerous. The man also alleged that another crew was permitted to shut down the electricity on the very same line when they did maintenance just weeks later.

As a result, the man filed a safety claim with the company, and he told officials that he felt unsafe on the job after that time. Understandably, the man was afraid to go to work, suffering from panic attacks and even crippling anxiety. The man was given a month-long hiatus from work, but he was fired when he refused to come in during his off time to discuss his absence.

The utility company plans to appeal the judgment.

Workers in high-risk positions – such as utility line workers – deserve to feel safe at work. This employee felt that his safety was not a concern to his supervisors, so he suffered a variety of ill effects, including losing his job. Victims of retaliatory discharge may be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim to recover damages, as the man did in this case. No California employees should be afraid of on-the-job injury.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “PG&E worker wins $1 million in Santa Cruz wrongful termination lawsuit” Stephen Baxter, Dec. 15, 2013


A former employee at a California hospital is seeking financial compensation after she reportedly was fired for reporting sexual harassment. The woman filed the wrongful termination claim after she was dismissed from work at Lodi Memorial Hospital in April, according to news reports. The woman claims that she was a whistleblower in the emergency room, and she was fired because she dared to stand up to the physician to harassed her.

The woman told officials that she was harassed by the emergency room medical director at the facility several times during 2012. She complained to hospital managers about the man’s misconduct, saying she was worried that patients might be suffering from harassment as well. Less than a month after she raised her concerns, the woman was fired by hospital higher-ups, according to the wrongful termination suit. The physician who was accused of harassing the woman and several other employees no longer works for the hospital.

So far, the woman has already won at least one legal victory against the hospital, which accused her of violating the organization’s confidentiality agreement. The woman was reportedly denied unemployment benefits after the retaliatory discharge because of those allegations; the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board overturned that decision, explaining that the woman followed the hospital’s procedures.

The woman argues that the hospital is guilty of violations of state or federal law in connection with the incidents. She is seeking compensation for patient safety whistleblowing, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other civil claims. No one deserves to be harassed in the workplace, and victims of sexual harassment certainly should not be fired because they bring the problems to light. In this case and many others, attorneys say that additional victims may come forward after the initial complaint is filed; indeed, this could be just the beginning of the hospital’s legal woes in connection with the sexual harassment incident.

www.lodinews.com, “Former employee sues Lodi Memorial Hospital” Kristopher Anderson, Nov. 26, 2013