At some point after June 13, 2011 and before July 25, 2011, Plaintiff sent a letter to Useless Employee, Regional Quality Manager. The letter stated "My fear is that we could potentially have an unsafe situation occur due to the way Dr. N reacts." The letter describes that this doctor, who is the doctor in charge of the clinic, refuses to respond or deal with situations nurses and other staff feel is beyond what they are capable of handling in an out patient dialysis clinic. The letter describes that on one occasion the nurses wanted to send a patient to the hospital, but Dr. N refused and told them to provide dialysis services at the clinic for the patient. On another occasion, a patient had a stabbing pain, was given Nitroglycerin SL by a nurse, on a standing order, and Dr. N was angry this patient was sent to the hospital. Another patient had a fever, chills, a graft that was shinny, swollen, red, and oozed exudate. The skin felt abnormally hot, and the patient stated he wanted to go to the emergency room. The patient was sent and Dr. N, who was not present was once again angry. He responded by text that sending the patients to the emergency room was "Not good or even remotely bright," and that the decisions to send these patients to the emergency room was done by Plaintiff who "It seems you are a few steps beyond ignorant." Plaintiff contends that Dr. N did not want to send these patients to the hospital because he did not have privileges at any hospitals in the area other than the Marina Dely Rey hospital which was a very small emergency center fairly far from the facility, and he feared losing the patient who would be reassigned to another nephrologist not associated with Defendants' clinics and/or Dr. N was intent on exercising negligent medical judgment.
On or about July 25 and 26, 2011 employee of the two corporate Defendants, Useless Employee did an investigation due to Plaintiff's complaint about Dr. N. Unaware Management Person documented the complaints of Plaintiff as including "Patients making changes to their dialysis machines themselves, patients setting up machines, cannulating themselves, doing rinse back without documented training, and patients taking video and still pictures of staff performing their jobs to validate concerns in break of infection control policies. Dr. N's claim was "Patients are borderline sociopaths in this clinic." Health Care Employee was reminded to follow infection control rules of the clinic, and then took pictures of Clinic Patient using "chew/rub" on the floor and using a container to spit into. Clinic Patient resigned after Dr. N became irate that the patient with the fever was sent to the emergency room. A patient complained that there were days when there was only one RN in the clinic, and when this happens she refuses to stay due to concerns of safety. Another patient claims he called OSHA. He also said there was a medication error, his blood pressure dropped to 70/40, and he could not get dialysis that day. Investigating nurse also found there to be infection control issues. He also decided that there would be security so the staff could enforce procedures against the patients some of whom were threatening and had histories of mental problems.
On or about October 7, 2011, Defendants' Compton clinic sustained serious water damage. It took three fire trucks three hours to get the initial water out. On or about October 8, 2011 remediation efforts started. By October 11, 2011 Plaintiff began reporting what ended up being approximately 14-16 workers compensation injuries associated with mold and sickness due to the water damage. October 17, 2011 staff were told to come back to the premises.
On or about October 31, 2011 Plaintiff' immediate report Unhelpful Manager, Regional Director of Operations, gave Plaintiff a corrective action/performance improvement plan. Plaintiff contends that this was done in retaliation for Plaintiff raising the issues described in Paragraphs 6-7 and then 8 of this wrongful termination lawsuit. The corrective action was unusual because Plaintiff's previous reviews had been above average. Second, the October 31, 2011 document disciplined Plaintiff for an event that occurred on August 29, 2011. Third, it disciplined Plaintiff for an event that occurred October 20, 2011 that bore eerie similarity to the event with the patient who was sent to the emergency room earlier, with a fever. The other events on the corrective action were also suspicious. Plaintiff wrote a rebuttal that went to Christen Stern on or about November 7, 2011 that stated: 1) she considered herself a patient advocate; 2) she continued to question the soundness of Dr. N and his directions; 3) she contacted the State in hopes something would be done about Dr. N and his lack of support, including a patient who died when an employee of Defendants claimed to have told Dr. N three times that the patient's leg was getting worse after a graft, but failed to act appropriately. Plaintiff explained this was the "near miss" she referred to in the letter described in Paragraph 6 of this wrongful termination lawsuit. Next, Plaintiff referred to the October 20, 2011 incident as being a situation in which the Defendants' charge nurse did not want to start a patient on dialysis who had a fever, Plaintiff told the nurse to do what she was comfortable with (Plaintiff nor Dr. N were present), and the nurse called 911. The patient ended up being admitted to the hospital for three days. Plaintiff mentioned another event where she was written up for a patient being sent to the hospital, who died several days later, when Dr. N did not want the patient to go to the hospital and claimed she was just psychotic and should continue dialysis. Plaintiff wrote she would no longer put her credentials on the line for malice and careless medical practices dictated by Dr. N who did not have privileges at Kaiser or the Compton Hospital.
On or about November 1, 2011 Plaintiff went on medical leave. At that time there were not any carpets on the floor of her office and remediation work was not complete for the mold. On or about October 18, 2011, a doctor wrote a note that was given to Defendants indicating that Plaintiff had potential mold exposure.
On or about November 1, 2011 Plaintiff wrote an e-mail to her contact at the Department of Public Health, for the County of Los Angeles. Plaintiff was informed and believed that this Department had control over determining if Defendants followed guidelines and was approved for the purpose of being a medical clinic. Plaintiff notified Department of Health Worker, RN, MSN that Plaintiff would no longer be working at the corporate Defendants' Compton location because of what she perceived as unsafe patient practices of the medical director (Dr. N) not wanting to send sick patients to the hospital. She also notified the Department that there had been excessive water damage since October 7, 2011 and that she filed 14 workers compensation claims for her employees there, there was mold, and evacuation was delayed thereby causing these injuries.
On or about November 7, 2011 Plaintiff discussed with Out of State Human Resource Person in Human Resources that she had made the complaint to the Health Department, described in Paragraph 11 of this wrongful termination lawsuit.
On or about November 30, 2011, when Plaintiff was not present a fire drill was done by her staff. There was a new check list and the staff falsely claimed they tested the fire alarm.
Plaintiff came back to work on January 3, 2012. On or about January 25, 2012 she notified Supervisor 1, Supervisor 2, and her second in line report, a Vice-President that the alarm was inoperable at her facility and not connected. In addition, there were not any smoke detectors. The premises were rented and prepared for Defendants' occupancy before Plaintiff was hired to work at that facility.
On or about March 2, 2012 Plaintiff was terminated for falsifying the fire report that was done by staff while she was out. However, the corporate Defendants had still not activated the fire alarm, nor had they caused smoke detectors to be installed at the facility where Plaintiff worked. Plaintiff did not have the authority to fix the deactivated fire alarm.
Plaintiff contends that her termination was due to complaints about staff safety, patient care, a complaint to the Department of Health, refusal to engage in nursing that jeopardized patient health, and the lack of a working fire alarm.
Under California law, no employee, whether they are an at-will employee, or an employee under a written or other employment contract, can be terminated for a reason that is in violation of a fundamental public policy. In recent years, the California court has interpreted a fundamental public policy to be any articulable constitutional, statutory provision, or regulation that is concerned with a matter effecting society at large rather than a purely personal or proprietary interest of the employee or the employer. Moreover, the public policy must be fundamental, substantial, and well established at the time of discharge.The Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon, alleges that said Defendant to this cause of action terminated the Plaintiff's employment in violation of public policy by terminating Plaintiff for complaining of conduct that violates public policies affecting society at large as follows: