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Special protections for nurses who report unsafe conditions

When people go to the doctor in California, they usually go there to treat a particular medical condition. They expect that while at the medical facility to receive care that the facility and medical professionals are following all rules and regulations to ensure that they receive the proper care. However, this does not always happen and sometimes there are violations. This could because of the costs associated with following the regulation or for many other reasons.

However, it is important that regulations are followed and the government wants to ensure they are being followed. Therefore, they encourage nurses and other medical staff to report violations to the appropriate authorities. However, medical facilities usually do not want violations reported and since they employ the nurses, some may be discouraged from reporting violations in order to keep their jobs. So, to help protect these people, the law prohibits employers from taking any whistleblower retaliation against medical employees who report violations or participate in investigations.

To help further protect these employees, there is a rebuttable presumption that any adverse actions taken against an employee within 120 days of filing a complaint are discriminatory. Also, the medical facility could face a fine of $25,000 or even $75,000 if it is found that the discrimination was willful. In addition to this, the employee is also entitled to reinstatement to their former position, any back pay and the medical facility may also have to pay for the employees legal costs associated with the discrimination.

It is important that all companies in California follow the rules and regulations specific to that industry, but it can be even more important for medical facilities to follow them. To help ensure they do, nurses and other employees are encouraged to report violations and are protected against any retaliation from their employer for doing so. While there are some added protections for medical professionals who report violations, they still can be complicated matters and attorneys may be a useful resource.

Source: leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, "Health and Safety Code" accessed on Feb. 27, 2018

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