Nurse files lawsuit alleging whistleblower retaliation

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2020 | Employment Law |

People who report wrongdoing in the workplace are often referred to as “whistleblowers.” Employees in Delaware who are considering becoming whistleblowers may be interested in an ongoing case in North Carolina.

The lawsuit involves a former nurse who says that she was fired from her job with the Mecklenburg County Health Department after she pointed out concerns about how tests for sexually transmitted diseases were handled. At least two other health department employees have filed whistleblower lawsuits since 2018 against the health department and the county.

Problems with STD tests

Originally, the lawsuit was filed in county court, but it was moved to federal court. It claims that STD test results were not accurate or fast, there was a lack of patient care and oversight, and patients who did not speak English were not provided with translations.

Whistleblower retaliation

The nurse attempted to raise her concerns about these issues through the health department, and when she was not successful, she brought them up at a meeting of county commissioners. According to the lawsuit filed in June, in April 2019, she was fired.

Federal law is supposed to protect employees who raise concerns about safety issues, discrimination or other workplace issues from retaliation. Whistleblower retaliation is not limited to termination. It might also include demotion or other types of adverse treatment. In most cases, it is usually best to start by addressing these issues in the workplace according to company policy. However, individuals may also want to consult an attorney to ensure that they understand their rights, legal terms such as “adverse treatment” and the best way to proceed. Employers may try to claim that an employee’s demotion or termination is based on performance, so it may be important to document all employer actions as evidence that this is not the case.