As healthcare employers continue to face a rise in the number of workplace issues, we examine measures to address and curb these issues. Our experience and considerable knowledge across a wide range of positions in the healthcare industry is the keystone of Trujillo & Winnick, LLP. Our lawyers support their clients in courts, arbitration, mediation, and administrative proceedings by combining in-depth experience in healthcare matters with litigation skills developed in trials and hearings, as well as participating in the government investigations and negotiating settlements. We provide comprehensive litigation services for any disputed matter and strive to achieve the best results for our clients.

We offer comprehensive representation in the following areas of healthcare employment:

  • Wrongful termination - Wrongful termination lawsuits may be filed in circumstances relating to violations of employment contracts, whistleblower cases, retaliation, avoid paying wages, commission, bonuses or benefits.
  • Retaliation - Retaliation for reporting or complaining about any kind of unlawful discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment, “whistle-blowing” on violations of the law, including workplace safety regulations or wage-and-hour violations.
  • Discrimination - Due to race and color, nationality, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, marital status, gender identity, disability, religion or age.
  • Harassment - This could be sexual, or simply being mistreated after whistleblowing. Major problems in hospitals can erupt if varying degrees of harassment are not mitigated quickly. Healthcare employers also may not fire you for reporting sexual harassment or for supporting another's allegation of sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Unpaid and overtime wages - Non-exempt employees working past 40 hours must be given 1.5 times their hourly rate, but often they are not. Commissions, bonuses and other compensatory promises fall under this category.
  • Meal and rest breaks - Employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every five hours they work. They can waive their right to take a meal break only if they work no more than six hours. A second break must be provided after 10 hours but can be waived if the first break was taken.
  • Class actions – Due to missed/late meal and rest breaks, misclassification, off-the-clock work, reporting time pay, equipment/business expense reimbursement, pay stubs, class action waivers in arbitration agreements.

California provides healthcare professionals with unique protections against retaliation due to complaining about patient care, conditions or other safety issues. 

No employer shall discriminate or retaliate, in any manner, against any employee, member of the medical staff, or any other healthcare worker of the health facility because that person has engaged in any protected activity, including complaining to the facility regarding the quality of care, services or conditions at the facility. Health & Safety Code § 1278.5(b)(1).

This law specifically protects individuals who complained about “issues relating to the care, services and conditions of a facility.” The health facility, or any entity that owns or operates the facility, cannot retaliate, or discriminate against you, if you report any suspected violation of patient care of the facility.

For example, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for:

  • Acting as a “whistleblower” with regard to corporate wrongdoing
  • Complaining about wage and overtime practices
  • Complaining about discrimination or harassment
  • Complaining about accounting irregularities
  • Healthcare workers complaining about patient care issues
  • Taking necessary medical leave or participating in jury duty
  • Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits
  • Refusing to engage in illegal or unethical activities
  • Advocating for medically appropriate healthcare
  • Refusing to lie to a government agency
  • Engaging in lawful conduct outside the workplace

California Legislature has declared it is the public policy of the State of California to encourage nurses, members of the medical staff, and other healthcare workers to report suspected unlawful conditions. This reporting not only helps to protect patients and assists accreditation and government entities but also protects the employment of those that fulfill this duty by making such reports.

Any employee who is discriminated against under this section may be entitled to reinstatement, reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits, emotional distress damages, legal costs, or any other remedy warranted by the court.

If you are experiencing any of these issues in your workplace or suspect you have been the victim of a wrongful termination, retaliation or unfair dismissal, your employer may be violating the law. Our firm would be glad to discuss your concerns and help you to determine a legal strategy best suited for your needs and situation with you.

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(310) 210-9302

(310) 921-5656