WHAT IS EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION?Employment discrimination occurs when someone else treats you differently in the workplace. It could be with regard to getting a job in the first place, or it could be the assignments you receive at work. It could also involve whether you get the same pay, benefits, or paid time off as other people. Although some discrimination is legal, such as discrimination based on skills or experience, other forms are explicitly prohibited based on federal and state laws in California. Certain traits get “protected status” in the workplace, such as race, age, nationality, genetic information, sex, and disability. When an employer engages in discrimination based on these traits, illegal activity may have occurred. You might have the ability to sue Kaiser Permanente for damages that were caused by their discrimination. Discrimination comes in many forms. Below are just a few examples based on federal anti-discrimination laws:
- Unfair treatment based on a protected status
- Harassment by your supervisor, co-workers, or even third parties that is based on your protected status
- Denial of a reasonable workplace change to accommodate a protected status
- Improper questions or required disclosure of your medical information or genetic information
- Retaliation because you asserted one of your rights as an employee
HOW CALIFORNIA LAW PROTECTS HEALTH CARE WORKERS RIGHTSCalifornia’s labor and employment laws are designed in part to prevent employers from terminating, discriminating against, or otherwise punishing workers who report unsafe conditions or practices to the relevant agencies or authorities. Such laws play a particularly important role in the health care industry. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals should not feel hesitant to call attention to practices and hazards that can jeopardize the safety of their patients, their coworkers, and themselves. Specific laws protecting health care professionals against employer retaliation in California include the following:
- California Health & Safety Code Section 1278.5: This law establishes that “it is the public policy of the State of California to encourage patients, nurses, members of the medical staff, and other health care workers to notify government entities of suspected unsafe patient care and conditions.” The wording of the statute goes on to indicate that employers or health care facilities that retaliate against health care workers who notify relevant government agencies when they become aware of unsafe conditions are in violation of the law.
- California Business & Professions Code Section 510: The purpose of this law is to encourage all health care workers to serve as advocates for their patients. Along with taking all steps to ensure patients receive proper care, advocating for patients may involve reporting unsafe conditions and practices.
- California Business & Professions Code Section 2056: This law also states that doctors and surgeons must, according to official State of California policy, prioritize the “applicable legal standard of care” when serving as advocates for their patients. It clearly establishes that penalizing or terminating a physician because they were properly advocating for their patients is against the law.
COMPENSATION YOU MAY RECOVER FROM KAISER PERMANENTEThe compensation that might be available to you if you take legal action against Kaiser Permanente can vary depending on the specific details of your case. Discuss the topic in greater detail with a Downey Kaiser Permanente lawyer to learn more about your options. Attorneys can’t promise a certain settlement amount. Doing so is unethical. However, with a lawyer on your side, you might recover compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Attorney fees
- Court expenses
- Pain and suffering