When an employee bears witness to company action that he or she believes is wrong, they may not question reporting the incident to the proper authorities. Unfortunately, employees are sometimes unfairly retaliated against for this behavior, commonly called “whistleblowing.” They may be subject to unfair treatment at their workplace or even fired, all for attempting to do the right thing. There is opportunity for recourse, in that employees so affected can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against their former company. This is the situation one California nurse found herself in recently.
The woman worked for over nine years as an administrative nurse for the University of California, Davis. She claims that researchers there were conducting a pain management study and using prison inmates as test subjects. According to her, they were also disabled, physically and mentally. She says she voiced concerns that the researchers might not have the proper consent from the inmates to conduct the study. She also says that her professional reputation was irreparably damaged and that she believes she was fired over the entire incident.
She filed a civil lawsuit against her former employers, believing that their actions toward her were unfair. A Superior Court jury agreed with her and awarded her almost $750,000. The University has said that it is weighing its options in the wake of the jury’s decision and have not provided any other formal statement at this time.
Employees who find themselves in a similar situation to this California nurse might decide to follow her example and file a wrongful termination lawsuit. It could result in an award of monetary damages that correspond to the precise circumstances of the case. Employees should never have to fear doing right by others and bringing unethical practices to light. They have several options for recourse if such a situation does occur.
Source: CBS San Francisco, "UC Davis 'Whistleblower' Wins Lawsuit After Reporting Unethical Study On Prisoners", , Aug. 13, 2014