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Hospital fires nurse for whistleblowing for patient safety

A California nurse is suing her workplace for wrongful termination after being fired from her assistant nurse manager position after revealing that patients were allegedly being cared for unsafely at her hospital. She claims she was fired for reporting that there were serious errors in distribution of medication, improper transfers of patients to the wrong care units, as well as admission violations. She complained to her superiors of these issues for over a year, attempting to increase safety for the patients and present specific issues of patient care to the management.

The nurse was concerned for the hospital's patients -- in one case, a patient was transferred to her unit who was a stroke patient, though her unit was not equipped or certified to care for patients with this ailment. The woman alleges that staff retaliated against her for making these reports, including that her performance review was negative and that she was issued administrative warnings for her position.

She was given what she described as an 'incomplete, oral explanation' of her performance evaluation, and though she repeatedly requested a written copy, she did not receive it until over a year later. At that time, she was issues a final warning, and was ultimately fired. She is suing under the California Labor Code for retaliation in addition to her wrongful termination suit.

Employees who reveal issues in their workplace and subsequently face mistreatment at work and are fired are eligible to pursue retaliation law suits. Though 'whistleblowing' may be a challenging position to be in, in cases like this one we see that the nurse was seeking to do what is best for the patients in her charge. Any employee who is retaliated against for bringing issues like these forward can pursue legal action. Additionally, a wrongful termination suit may be an option.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Kaiser Safety Worries Led to Firing, Nurse Says," Philip A. Janquart, Jan. 4, 2012

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