Category Archives: Health Care

What are the Legal Implications of Quitting Your Job?

What are the legal implications of quitting your job? Can you collect unemployment? Severance? What if you have a case and you quit (vs letting them fire you), will you still be able to take action? I answer all of those questions in this video.

My office gets a lot of calls from people who quit and still want to take action. This video details the critical things that lawyers look at in this situation.

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Filed under Age, Defamation, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Contract, FEHA, Harassment, Health Care, Layoffs, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy, Privacy, Race, Religion, Retaliation, Settlements, Severance, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

How to Complain to Human Resources the Right Way

As with all things in life, making a complaint at work is a risk. If you complain to human resources the wrong way, you might get fired (it happens far more often than people think). That is why I took the time to make a video about the correct way to complain to HR.

This video will explain the five things you need to know before you complain about your issue at work. It also covers how HR will react to your complaint and what you should expect if they conduct an “investigation.”

If you found this to be helpful, please leave a comment below.

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Filed under Abuse, Age, Defamation, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Contract, FEHA, Harassment, Health Care, Layoffs, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy, Privacy, Race, Religion, Retaliation, Settlements, Severance, Verdicts, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

What does being an “at-will employee” actually mean? Can I get fired for “any reason”?

This is a very common question. At-will employment does not mean that the company can fire you for any reason they want. That is incorrect. In this video, employment attorney Branigan Robertson explains the at-will doctrine and how it actually works.

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Filed under Abuse, Age, Defamation, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Contract, FEHA, Harassment, Health Care, Layoffs, Leave of Absence, Pregnancy, Privacy, Race, Religion, Retaliation, Settlements, Severance, Verdicts, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

Protecting Medical Professional Whistleblowers

It is the public policy of California to encourage patients, nurses, doctors and other members of health facilities to speak up against suspected unsafe patient care and poor health facility conditions. It is still very common for members of health facilities to witness first hand poor patient treatment and poor patient conditions. Therefore, California has passed a unique whistleblower law, Health & Safety Code 1278.5, for medical professionals.

Basically, under 1278.5, it is unlawful for an employer of a health facility to retaliate against any patient or employee of the health facility for complaining or reporting (blowing the whistle) unsafe patient care or poor patient conditions to the employer. Employment attorneys like Mr. Robertson are there to ensure that health facility employers are held accountable under this law.

Recent Verdict – Cancer Patients and Bad Surgeons Lead to Whistleblower Complaint

In a very recent case out of the California judicial system, Wascher v. Southern California Permanente Group, plaintiff was a surgeon who worked for defendant from 2009 to 2011. During his employment, plaintiff complained about unsafe patient care to the defendant. Plaintiff made the following complaints to his employer: access to surgery for cancer patients took too long and unqualified surgeons were handling cancer cases that they should not be handling. In response to his complaints, rather than addressing the plaintiff’s legitimate complaints, the defendant barred him from becoming a partner. Plaintiff hired an employee rights attorney to protect his rights.

Plaintiff argued that he was retaliated against for complaining about unsafe patient care in the workplace. Defendant argued that the plaintiff was not barred from becoming a partner because he was not a good fit. Defendant also argued that he did not make complaints, but asked for certain preferences that would benefit himself as a surgeon. The jury was not convinced by the defense and sided with the plaintiff. The jury awarded plaintiff $1,750,000 for retaliation under Health & Safety 1278.5.

This case was a huge victory for employees of health facilities, whether it be doctors, nurses, o medical staff assistance. Wascher v. Southern California Permanente Group reinforces California’s policy of encouraging members of health facilities to speak up against suspected unsafe patient care and poor health facility conditions. This is a very important law as it not only protects employees who act as patient advocates, but also protects the pateints themselves to ensure that Californians are treated in a safe and clean health facility. If you are an employee of a health facility and you feel that you have been retaliated against for reporting unsafe patient conditions or acting as an advocate for patients adverse to your employer, then call an employee rights attorney immediately.

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Filed under Health Care, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

Health Care Whistle Blower Employment Lawyer

One of the types of whistleblowers employment lawyers protect are employees who report unsafe patient care and conditions. The California Legislature has passed some special whistleblower laws for medical professionals and medical staff. In California, it is public policy to encourage doctors and other health care workers to report suspected unsafe patient care and conditions. Ultimately, the California Legislature wants to protect patients.

Unfortunately, medical professionals and medical staff witness poor patient treatment in the workplace all the time. That is why CA Health & Safety Code 1278.5 was enacted. Basically, Health & Safety Code 1278.5 provides that no employer shall discriminate against an employee, member of the medical staff, or other health care worker of the employer for presenting a complaint or report to the employer, or medical staff, or other governmental entity.

Suing On Behalf of Doctors, Surgeons, & Nurses

In Pedowitz, M.D. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., plaintiff was the Chair of UCLA’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. During the first year of employment, plaintiff reported conflicts of interest between UCLA medical professionals and outside medical third parties which plaintiff believed negatively affected patient care and safety. Less than a year into his position as Chair, he was asked to resign. Plaintiff hired an employment lawyer to sue his former employer.

Plaintiff claimed that his removal as Chair was directly due to his reports of various conflicts of interests between doctors and third party medical companies which had the potential to gravely affect patient care and safety. Defendant argued that plaintiff was asked to resign due to his poor leadership skills and his poor communication with colleagues.

The trial lasted two long months. Although there was no jury verdict, there was a $10,000,000 settlement which occurred at trial immediately before closing arguments. The fact that the defendants settled for such a high amount right before closing arguments implies that the case was not boding well for the employer. Defendants must have feared a potential hefty verdict against them in favor of the plaintiff.

Employment Lawyer Against Hospitals and Medical Executives

It never looks good to a jury or any outside observers when an employee is fired for reporting unsafe patient care and conditions, and Pedowitz, M.D. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al. is a testament to that. If you have reported unsafe patient care conditions or care, and believe that your employer has retaliated against you, call an employment attorney immediately.

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Case Law: Khajavi v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group – Whistleblower Protection for Doctors

Attorney Case Law Update: Khajavi v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group – California Court of Appeal. Branigan Robertson is a California employment lawyer who focuses his practice on healthcare whistleblowers, wage and hour issues, sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Contact the firm for a free consultation.

Facts of the Case:

While prepping a patient for anesthesia, Dr. Khajavi noticed that the patient had an irregular heartbeat which increases the risk of stroke to a patient during and after surgery. Dr. Khajavi asked the surgeon about the patient’s irregular heartbeat and the surgeon told him that it was nothing new and the patient was being treated for it. Relying on this, Dr. Khajavi proceeded with administering the sedative.

Before the surgery began, Dr. Khajavi spoke with the patient’s regular physician, who informed him that the patient had not been treated for an irregular heartbeat and directed Dr. Khajavi to cancel the surgery.

Dr. Khajavi and the surgeon had a heated argument as the surgeon wanted to proceed with the surgery and Dr. Khajavi did not was to proceed with the surgery. Dr. Khajavi refused to attend the patient during surgery as it was not in the best interest of the patient to proceed with the surgery. The surgery was canceled as there was no other anesthesiologist to monitor the patient.

Four days following the incident, Dr. Khajavi was terminated. Shareholders told Dr. Khajavi that the incident was one of the main reasons for his termination. Dr. Khajavi filed a lawsuit asserting that the hospital, had violated Business & Professions Code § 2056 which protects doctors from retaliation for advocating for medically appropriate care.

Continue reading “Case Law: Khajavi v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group – Whistleblower Protection for Doctors” »

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