Among the many federal and state laws that relate to employment, some focus on protecting the right of employees to expose illegal or unethical behaviors by their employer or other employees.

Whistleblowing claims made by workers may pertain to allegations of discrimination or to actions that put people at risk in other ways. Companies should not take actions that appear to reprimand or otherwise retaliate against employees who file these complaints.

ICU nurse files anonymous complaints

An example of an employee who believes he was retaliated against can be seen in the case involving a lawsuit recently filed by a longtime intensive care unit nurse. LMTOnline reported that the nurse filed multiple anonymous complaints with concerns about lack of proper patient hygiene and oversight. In one complaint, the nurse indicated some patients were left unattended and that resulted in some falls or the dislodging of some IV tubes.

Eventually, the nurse voluntarily resigned but was asked not to leave by the hospital’s Chief Clinical Officer. After agreeing to remain employed at the hospital, the nurse disclosed his anonymous complaints to the hospital.

Hospital fires nurse

Not long after the nurse openly disclosed that he had filed the patient safety complaints, the hospital fired him. The reason stated involved allegations of inappropriate pictures drawn on clipboard. The nurse denied drawing any such images. Instead, the nurse believed the hospital fired him in retaliation for filing the safety complaints. As such, a lawsuit on behalf of the terminated employee now seeks damages against his former employer. The hospital in San Antonio is part of a larger medical network.