California whistleblower law? Safe harbor?

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    Does anyone know where I can find detailed information about these laws in California if they exist? I found info on ratios but not much on the nurse protection from employers who violate them. What would a nurse do if she were given an unsafe assignment? Would California law protect the nurse from employer retaliation? Thanks for any help!
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  4. 1
    Quote from cincin1
    Does anyone know where I can find detailed information about these laws in California if they exist? I found info on ratios but not much on the nurse protection from employers who violate them. What would a nurse do if she were given an unsafe assignment? Would California law protect the nurse from employer retaliation? Thanks for any help!
    The California Whistleblower law was sponsored by the California Nurses association. The nurse must make sure there is proof the hospital knows a report to a governmental entity was made. Send an e-mail, text, letter, or say it with witnesses.
    1278.5. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the
    public policy of the State of California to encourage patients,
    nurses, members of the medical staff, and other health care workers
    to notify government entities of suspected unsafe patient care and
    conditions. The Legislature encourages this reporting in order to
    protect patients and in order to assist those accreditation and
    government entities charged with ensuring that health care is safe.
    The Legislature finds and declares that whistleblower protections
    apply primarily to issues relating to the care, services, and
    conditions of a facility and are not intended to conflict with
    existing provisions in state and federal law relating to employee and
    employer relations.

    (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.
    (B) Has initiated, participated, or cooperated in an investigation
    or administrative proceeding related to, the quality of care,
    services, or conditions at the facility that is carried out by an
    entity or agency responsible for accrediting or evaluating the
    facility or its medical staff, or governmental entity.
    (2) No entity that owns or operates a health facility, or which
    owns or operates any other health facility, shall discriminate or
    retaliate against any person because that person has taken any
    actions pursuant to this subdivision.

    (3) A violation of this section shall be subject to a civil
    penalty of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). The
    civil penalty shall be assessed and recovered through the same
    administrative process set forth in Chapter 2.4 (commencing with
    Section 1417) for long-term health care facilities.

    (c) Any type of discriminatory treatment of a patient by whom, or
    upon whose behalf, a grievance or complaint has been submitted,
    directly or indirectly, to a governmental entity or received by a
    health facility administrator within 180 days of the filing of the
    grievance or complaint, shall raise a rebuttable presumption that the
    action was taken by the health facility in retaliation for the
    filing of the grievance or complaint.
    (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.
    (e) The presumptions in subdivisions (c) and (d) shall be
    presumptions affecting the burden of producing evidence as provided
    in Section 603 of the Evidence Code.

    (f) Any person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a
    misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than twenty thousand
    dollars ($20,000).

    (g) An employee who has been discriminated against in employment
    pursuant to this section shall be entitled to reinstatement,
    reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of
    the employer, and the legal costs associated with pursuing the case,
    or to any remedy deemed warranted by the court pursuant to this
    chapter or any other applicable provision of statutory or common law.
    A health care worker who has been discriminated against pursuant to
    this section shall be entitled to reimbursement for lost income and
    the legal costs associated with pursuing the case, or to any remedy
    deemed warranted by the court pursuant to this chapter or other
    applicable provision of statutory or common law. A member of the
    medical staff who has been discriminated against pursuant to this
    section shall be entitled to reinstatement, reimbursement for lost
    income resulting from any change in the terms or conditions of his or
    her privileges caused by the acts of the facility or the entity that
    owns or operates a health facility or any other health facility that
    is owned or operated by that entity, and the legal costs associated
    with pursuing the case, or to any remedy deemed warranted by the
    court pursuant to this chapter or any other applicable provision of
    statutory or common law.
    (h) The medical staff of the health facility may petition the
    court for an injunction to protect a peer review committee from being
    required to comply with evidentiary demands on a pending peer review
    hearing from the member of the medical staff who has filed an action
    pursuant to this section, if the evidentiary demands from the
    complainant would impede the peer review process or endanger the
    health and safety of patients of the health facility during the peer
    review process. Prior to granting an injunction, the court shall
    conduct an in camera review of the evidence sought to be discovered
    to determine if a peer review hearing, as authorized in Section 805
    and Sections 809 to 809.5, inclusive, of the Business and Professions
    Code, would be impeded. If it is determined that the peer review
    hearing will be impeded, the injunction shall be granted until the
    peer review hearing is completed. Nothing in this section shall
    preclude the court, on motion of its own or by a party, from issuing
    an injunction or other order under this subdivision in the interest
    of justice for the duration of the peer review process to protect the
    person from irreparable harm.
    (i) For purposes of this section, "health facility" means any
    facility defined under this chapter, including, but not limited to,
    the facility's administrative personnel, employees, boards, and
    committees of the board, and medical staff.
    (j) This section shall not apply to an inmate of a correctional
    facility or juvenile facility of the Department of Corrections and
    Rehabilitation, or to an inmate housed in a local detention facility
    including a county jail or a juvenile hall, juvenile camp, or other
    juvenile detention facility.
    (k) This section shall not apply to a health facility that is a
    long-term health care facility, as defined in Section 1418. A health
    facility that is a long-term health care facility shall remain
    subject to Section 1432.
    (l) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the
    ability of the medical staff to carry out its legitimate peer review
    activities in accordance with Sections 809 to 809.5, inclusive, of
    the Business and Professions Code.
    (m) Nothing in this section abrogates or limits any other theory
    of liability or remedy otherwise available at law.

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...le=1275-1289.5
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    cincin1 likes this.
  5. 1
    Whistleblow anonymously... especially in this economy.
    cincin1 likes this.
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    In my California experience when the employer is reminded of the whistleblower law they stop retaliation. The employer has the responsibility to prove the action was NOT in retaliation for whistleblowing.
    Read the law. The facility must pay a $25,000.00 fine and the manager who retaliates must personally pay $20,000.00.
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    But CA has nothing in place to provide protection to a nurse in "real time" - when s/he believes that an assignment is unsafe? Whistleblower protections are great, but they cover actions 'after the fact'; possibly when the damage has already been done. That's a shame. Seems like everyone has a false sense of security based on the CA mandated ratios that are/were widely publicized.
    cincin1 likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from HouTx
    But CA has nothing in place to provide protection to a nurse in "real time" - when s/he believes that an assignment is unsafe? Whistleblower protections are great, but they cover actions 'after the fact'; possibly when the damage has already been done. That's a shame. Seems like everyone has a false sense of security based on the CA mandated ratios that are/were widely publicized.
    What is available in your state to provide safe staffing and enough supplies and working equipment in real time? What do you do to always have enough staff to provide excellent care?

    We are realistic. Whistleblowing is done when direct action didn't work.

    What many nurses do when their hospital violates the law: http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/...nsemar2309.pdf

    The same information in a different format: http://nurses.3cdn.net/dfe19c41cd5c7a4ad3_nim6bxw3p.pdf

    California ratios save lives and improve care: Hospital nurse staffing ratios mandated in California are associated with
    lower mortality and nurse outcomes predictive of better nurse retention in California
    and in other states where they occur. -- http://nurses.3cdn.net/f83005dfafc3cd0332_evm6bn5zg.pdf
    cincin1 likes this.


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