(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
In fact, both the reasons given for Ms. Smith’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. Smith’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 Foundation (first as a consultant, then as an employee).
Foundation managers expressed concerns about Ms. Smith’s communication style when she would communicate that a) there were serious defects in Foundation’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.
In addition, Ms. Smith’s termination was in violation of Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5:
(b)(1) No health facility shall discriminate or retaliate, in any manner, against any patient, employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care worker of the health facility because that person has done either of the following:
(a) Presented a grievance, complaint, or report to the facility, to an entity or agency responsible for accrediting or evaluating the facility, or the medical staff of the facility, or to any other governmental entity.
(d)(1) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that discriminatory action was taken by the health facility, or by the entity that owns or operates that health facility, or that owns or operates any other health facility, in retaliation against an employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care worker of the facility, if responsible staff at the facility or the entity that owns or operates the facility had knowledge of the actions, participation, or cooperation of the person responsible for any acts described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), and the discriminatory action occurs within 120 days of the filing of the grievance or complaint by the employee, member of the medical staff or any other health care worker of the facility.
(2) For purposes of this section, discriminatory treatment of an employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care worker includes, but is not limited to, discharge, demotion, suspension, or any unfavorable changes in, or breach of, the terms or conditions of a contract, employment, or privileges of the employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care worker of the health care facility, or the threat of any of these actions. (See Part 5 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.