(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.)
While working at Kaiser-Permanente, Ms. Church made frequent complaints to upper management, including officers and managing agents such as Stan Brown, David Black, and Mary Smith, regarding the failure of Kaiser to address serious patient and staff safety issues. None of Ms. Church’s complaints received any substantive response, other than her termination. The subjects of these complaints included:
* OSHA violations including concerns about frequent blood splashes and gastric juices deposited on nurses and the failure of Kaiser to install necessary OSHA required eyewash stations.
* The continued use of non-safety needles to avoid accidental punctures of staff.
* Toxicity of a new facility at Sacramento and a manager’s withholding of the report of work that was being done to correct that toxicity found in the Forensic Analytical report commissioned by Charles Smith to the employees in the building.
* The loss by Richard White of Personal Air Purification Respirators given to Sacramento to protect staff and patients from airborne pathogens and would not find them.
* The lack of fit testing for N-95 respirators at the Oakland or Sacramento facilities.
* The placement of tuberculosis patients in non-quarantined rooms, in the general patient population and released back out into the general population, including a 14 year-old child who had tuberculosis and whose mother was a Registered Nurse and whose father came contact with about 500 people daily. Those patients that were quarantined were placed in isolation rooms many of which did not work because air exchange testing had not been performed on an annual basis as is required. In another instance, in 2006, a tuberculosis patient was released by a Registered Nurse to get on a bus and released into the general population.
* The use of a toxic substance, Cidex, in unventilated rooms, a practice which endangered staff.
The temporal nexus between Ms. Church’s last complaint in December 2006 regarding toxic fumes from the use of Cidex in an unventilated room being used as a Pulmonary Lab, the unjustified disciplinary letter of December 28, 2006, and Ms. Church’s termination on January 10, 2006 is compelling. Rather than address any of Ms. Church’s concerns, management found an opportunity to terminate her and took it, in violation of not only Kaisers anti-retaliation policy but also its Dispute Resolution Program which was never followed once in response to a health or safety concern raised by Ms. Church. That an employer’s actions were caused by an employee’s engagement in protected activities may be inferred from the proximity in time between the protected action and the allegedly retaliatory employment decision. Ray v. Henderson (9th Cir. 2000) 217 F.3d 1234, 1244. (See Part 7 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.