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California woman sues former employer for wrongful termination

A lawsuit recently filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that Kaiser Permanente and Southern California Permanente Medical Group fired the plaintiff after she reported that other employees had violated the privacy rights of patients. The plaintiff, a woman who had been employed by Kaiser since 1978 for 34 years, complained of retaliation and age discrimination.

Although the woman had received good evaluations throughout her career, she said her employer became hostile after she complained of violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This federal law ensures that patients cannot have their medical information shared and discussed without their permission. Her complaint launched an investigation of her instead of the people who shared confidential information.

After three hostile meetings in 2014 with internal investigators, the woman alleges that she was forced to write a resignation using verbiage provided by the employer. The woman insists that no action was taken against the employees who violated HIPPA. She believes she was targeted because of her age. Her lawsuit seeks compensation based on lost earnings, both past and future, along with damage to her reputation.

California employees are protected by federal and state law against discrimination based on age, gender, religion or race. Those who believe that they have been wrongful terminated in violation of these laws could seek more information from an attorney. After considering the evidence, an attorney might be able to determine if a discrimination claim would be appropriate. Advice about how to document discrimination might also be given. With this information, the wronged employee may be able to recover the damages that have been sustained.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Kaiser Fired Woman in Retaliation, She Claims", Philip A. Janquart, March 27, 2015

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