Two former employees are suing Kaiser Fontana Medical Center in San Bernardino Superior Court alleging that they were fired when they blew the whistle on their unsanitary working conditions. Both employees worked in the housekeeping department for Kaiser and claim that when Kaiser contracted with Xanitos Inc. in 2010 for housekeeping services, their two new supervisors (one for Kaiser and one for Xanitos) began ignoring their health concerns.
Both employees made workers’ compensation claims after being injured while using large, poorly designed carts that Xanitos required them to use, which the plaintiffs claim Kaiser held against them. Due to these workers’ comp claims, the plaintiffs allege that their complaints of unsanitary working conditions went unheard in special employee meetings arranged to bring concerns to the attention of supervisors.
One complaint brought forward by a plaintiff detailed a sewage flood that occurred in the hospital’s basement where housekeeping employees had to clean without proper cleaning equipment, exposing them to potentially hazardous materials. The plaintiff brought these concerns up at a June 13, 2012 meeting and was subsequently placed on suspension for “pretextual reasons.” The plaintiff was then fired on June 22, 2012.
Another plaintiff in the case claims that Xanitos modified the process for cleaning patient rooms and that housekeeping was often faced with rooms containing many bodily fluids without proper cleaning equipment to sanitize the rooms.
Both plaintiffs are suing for discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination, and are seeking general, exemplary, punitive and economic damages.
Under California law, whistleblowers are protected and entitled to emotional distress and punitive damages. Employers cannot retaliate against employees who report illegal acts by discharging, demoting, suspending or harassing them. Whistleblowers may be able to sue for damages if employers retaliate in any way.
Our experienced California labor law attorneys can help you determine if your employer is retaliating against you for whistle blowing. Contact our Los Angeles employment attorneys today at (310) 273-3180 to discuss your options.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys