(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this employment discrimination/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
Kaiser has a very clear national policy regarding Corrective/Disciplinary Action because it is obligated to have one.
Kaiser Permanente (KP) must comply with specific legal/regulatory standards that include, but are not limited to, those indicated by Medicare and other government program billing requirements, Guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Compliance Program Guidance issued by the Office of the Inspector General, and HIPAA/Privacy and Security regulations …. KP is required to have well publicized disciplinary guidelines that demonstrate its commitment to compliance and set forth the consequences for violations of compliance mandates.
In other words, state and federal laws and regulations require that Kaiser follow its own Corrective/Disciplinary Action policy. The last paragraph of that policy states: Employees who report compliance and/or ethics concerns in good faith will not be subject to corrective/disciplinary action for doing so… Nevertheless, even assuming the truth of Kaiser’s purported reason for terminating Ms. Church, Ms. Church was terminated in violation of Kaiser’s legally mandated policy because she was terminated for printing out an improperly viewable document to show to Mr. Oliver.
In fact, both the reasons given for Ms. Church’s ultimate termination and the underlying reasons for the draft disciplinary letter which she printed from Mr. White’s screen were pretext for retaliatory action and restraint of Ms. Church’s efforts to hold the managers in charge of Environmental, Health and Safety accountable for the numerous lapses in employee and patient safety which they have countenanced while she has worked for Kaiser (first as a consultant, then as an employee). Kaiser managers expressed concerns about Ms. Church’s communication style when she would communicate that a) there were serious defects in Kaiser’s workplace safety program and b) those managers were partly or fully responsible for those serious defects.
Hospital workplace safety is governed by state and federal OSHA regulations, as well as other state and federal health regulations, and retaliation against an employee who voices concerns about violations of those regulations is a tortious violation of public policy as well as a violation of Labor Code Sec. 6310:
(a) No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because the employee has done any of the following:
(1) Made any oral or written complaint to the division, other governmental agencies having statutory responsibility for or assisting the division with reference to employee safety or health, his or her employer, or his or her representative. (See Part 5 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.