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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I work part time as a hospitalist at a county psychiatric hospital,

Customer Question

I work part time as a hospitalist at a county psychiatric hospital, usually 100-120 hrs a month, in the category of an hourly employee or "per diem". The hospitalist handles medical problems of psychiatric patients and does the physicals on the new inpatients.
I reported to the medical director my concerns regarding unsafe transfer of patients to a higher level of care that I felt could violate EMTALA (Emergency Medical Transfer and Active Labor Act) law. Our usual receiving hospital for our transfers had previously reported them as well but later they were found not at fault.
During a meeting I requested to address this concern and how we might improve patient safety (e.g., maybe give a person with chest pain an aspirin, for starters), we discussed many issues pertinent to this concern. Soon after, via email I was issued a memo that "summarized" the meeting, including very little of what we discussed, and I was supposed to sign it ! (I didn't)
Now my hours have been halved starting in November. I have been working for this county hospital for three years, including holidays, weekends, and now I am looking at drastically reduced income in another month.
I feel this is retaliatory. How does one go up against this? There is a whistle blower clause both in EMTALA law and in the hospital's own policy, so I guess they can't or won't fire me. But because I have been an agitator, they are doing the next best thing to firing me by cutting my hours. Is this worth a fight? I love my job just not this shocking apathy towards the patients.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 3 years ago.

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.

Even though you weren't terminated in response to your complaints about public safety, you would still have a retaliation claim against your employer for you making a complaint about patient safety.

I can't comment on whether or not this is worth a fight, since that is up to you. I can tell you that it, unfortunately, may be difficult to get an attorney interested, since you are a part-time employee and were not terminated, so damages would be lower than normal for a retaliation case.

Additionally, your employer may try to counter with a legitimate reason for reducing your hours.

If you do hire an attorney, I would suggest that you hire one who works on commission instead of hourly, since then you do not have to compensate him or her unless you receive a settlement or verdict against your employer.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service. Definitely contact me 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 paid for my work. It is necessary for you to rate my answer even though you’ve made a deposit or are a subscriber. I only receive compensation for my work if you rate me positively. Otherwise, I receive nothing for assisting you, and the website retains your entire deposit.

Thanks and best of luck!

Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you