How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joseph Your Own Question
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Joseph is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a medical social worker and resigned (terminated with

This answer was rated:

I am a medical social worker and resigned (terminated with option) due to not reporting an offer for a health care kickback that I received from a local corp office of a homecare co that has thousands of franchises around the US and Canada. This letter stated that $5-20K was being offered to RN's, Soc Wkrs and Geriatric Care Mgrs to join their "Global Ambassador program" and for referring clients to them. It stated that because of my work, I would be on the higher end. I refused explaining that we are not allowed to do that at my hospital etc. I know the CEO and could not believe that they were engaging in healthcare kickbacks. I attempted to contact the President/ COO and never rec'd a call back. My email at work was looked at (randomly they do this) and these emails were found. I was investigated and accused of not turning this info over to their Legal Dept. I explained that we get these all the time and I also know this company and could not imagine they were doing this and it sounded like an employee made an error. After the investigation I called the CEO and President who were shocked and stated that this email was meant for a private equity investor (at Facebook) with my same name. They insisted that they have a large legal team and could withstand any investigation. They apologized profusely and gave personal cell nos to speak with Corporate Compliance for my company. They did not respond to the info in the email stating it was specifically for medical professionals such as me. They only said it was for the woman with my same name. I was asked to resign from my company for not reporting them to the medical legal dept and for appearing to be interested in accepting the kick backs (even tho my email states I would not participate). I gave my company the email I received from the Pres of the company explaining that they made an error and it was meant for one of their investors. I resigned and I do not want to fight it because my company is too huge and I was forced to sign a paper stating I would not bring legal action. I have tried to contact this other company and they are ignoring me. I lost my livlihood, my health insurance and am a single female self supporting. I lost it due to their sending me that letter they claim was a complete error. I did not report them because I am also a Geriatric Care Manager and their company is quite impt in my prof community. What can I do? Shall I report them to the Feds even though this letter was "an error"? Shall i sue them ? But for what? not sure what to do or what kind of lawyer I need. It's not an employment lawyer? It's not a health care lawyer? Lost.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I need a bit more information from you before I can proceed to provide you with a complete and thorough answer to your question.

Can you tell me if you are an at-will employee or do you have an employment contract with your employer?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

At will. But I do not want to sue my former company.

It's that the other company that sent me something illegal


and I probably have to report them for this -even if it was "in error" on their part. Correct? I also think they owe me something for causing all of this in the first place. no?

Hello Emily,

I'm afraid that it would be very difficult to sue this company for your wrongful termination. While them sending you the email wound up eventually causing your termination, it's likely that a court would not find that they did so intentionally or negligently.

The standard that would be owed to you is a reasonable person standard of care and there is a requirement that the damage would be foreseeable as a result. It's possible that you can state that their negligence, mistake in sending you the letter was a direct cause in your termination, but it's possible that the court would state that your (in)action was an intervening factor, and it couldn't have been foreseeable that sending you this email would cause your termination.

If you do choose to go after them for this, you would do so through a personal injury attorney (preferably one with healthcare and/or employment law experience). Also, it would be advisable to report the suspected violation to the Federal government, but that wouldn't necessarily assist you in the claim. (On the other hand, had you been terminated for reporting them, you would have a cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy).

All in all, this would be a difficult cause of action to prove, and while my sympathies go out to you (as you definitely SHOULD be able to sue them and recoup the damages they caused), I have to be honest with you and tell you that it would be an uphill battle to do so.

If you do chose to pursue this, I would suggest hiring a contingency attorney, so you only have to compensate him or her if you receive a settlement or verdict in your favor.

I realize the above information is not what you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question. It would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service. Please contact me first if you are contemplating leaving me a negative rating, as I’ll be happy to continue to address your concerns until you are satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Joseph. Much appreciated. So you are saying that it's basically pointless to speak to a personal injury/ healthcare attorney? AND..are you advising that I do report them to the Feds even though I know they made an error and it's probably not something they do(give healthcare kickbacks)? Also, do you think the harm that would come to me for reporting them is worth the damage it would/could do to my professional reputation out here as they are part of my prof network

No, I would definitely still suggest that you speak to an attorney regarding it, as it's always best to speak to a local attorney regarding your case.

I would just suggest that you find one who offers free consultations (if possible) and if you hire one, to find an attorney who would take the case on contingency.

It's up to you to report it to the Feds. I was just commenting that I'm not sure if it would have a positive impact on your case. Although, that said, if they found the company guilty of healthcare kickbacks (or that there was something potentially illegal going on) it would only help your case.

But, I think you'd have to weigh that against the potential cost to doing so, if you think it'll negatively impact your career.

Again, I'm just giving you my legal information and my opinion. I cannot advise you on what to do or not do, as that would constitute legal advice, in violation of the terms of the site, and creating potential liability issues. Additionally, you would be the best person to decide what you want to do.

Thanks again and best of luck!
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related California Employment Law Questions