The vast majority of people who work in health care in California and across the country are dedicated, educated professionals who are committed to protecting their patients. If a nurse, for example, is ethically and legally required to report patient abuse at the hands of another employee, the former should be able to do so without fear of retaliation from his or her employer. Unfortunately, a woman in another state has now turned to litigation after she claims she was wrongfully terminated for reporting a patient’s account of abuse.
The woman claims that she was fired in Nov. 2016. According to court papers, she noticed that a male patient seemed visibly shaken and nervous. She claims when she questioned the patient about it, he reportedly informed her that another nursing assistant had treated him roughly and told the patient not to bother him. When no follow-up action was taken after she notified the nurse in charge, she claims she notified human resources.
The plaintiff claims that the alleged victim repeated his claims of abuse to a social worker who, in turn, asked the nurse to write a report. The human resources director claims that the incident was not going to be reported because officials at the nursing home determined that the patient’s reports were not reliable. However, the nurse decided to write the report and provide a copy of it to the victim’s brother.
Unfortunately, she was terminated following accusations that she coached the resident to describe the incident as he did to the social worker and that she had drugged the man to ensure that he stayed calm. She claims that her termination violates the Illinois Whistleblower Act. The lawsuit requests reinstatement, over $75,000 in damages and double back pay.
Because there are times when employees in California witness illegal behavior, there are laws in place to protect workers from retaliation for reporting such acts. Despite this, many people find themselves looking for a new job after reporting illegal behavior. As a result, victims of wrongful termination often seek to understand their paths to justice, including turning to litigation.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Woodstock nursing home worker fired for reporting patient’s mistreatment claim: lawsuit,” Amanda Marrazzo, Dec. 1, 2017