What is the Whistleblower Protection Act in Nursing?

Jan 13, 2022
By Peter Friedmann

The Whistleblower Protection Act makes it illegal for employers, both in the private and public sectors, to harass or punish workers who report unlawful activity or other wrongdoing. Under the Act, certain employees are offered protection from whistleblower retaliation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces its own Whistleblower Protection Act on a federal level, and states often have their own form of whistleblower protection as well.

Those in the healthcare field also receive whistleblower protection. Below, we describe what kind of whistleblower protections exist for nurses in Ohio.

What is the Whistleblower Protection for Nurses?

First, the Whistleblower Protection Act applies to nurses who work in the private sector. Different steps exist for nurses who are federal employees and are alleging retaliation due to disclosure of substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.

On the state level, Ohio law offers protection from whistleblower retaliation.

O.R.C. 4723.33 specifically outlines the protection that nurses in Ohio are afforded. The section reads:

“A registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, dialysis technician, community health worker, or medication aide who in good faith makes a report under this chapter or any other provision of the Revised Code regarding a violation of this chapter or any other provision of the Revised Code, or participates in any investigation, administrative proceeding, or judicial proceeding resulting from the report, has the full protection against retaliatory action provided by sections 4113.51 to 4113.53 of the Revised Code.”

In essence, a nurse has full protection against retaliation when that nurse reports unlawful activity or conduct that results in a hazard to public health or safety.

Further questions about when and how whistleblower protection would apply to a nurse? Reach out to the whistleblower protection lawyers at The Friedmann Firm!

At What Point is the Nurse Legally Protected from Retaliation in a Whistleblower Situation?

The Whistleblower Protection Act and Ohio law ensure that nurses who report any kind of wrongdoing “in good faith” are protected from retaliatory action.

Unfortunately, even though some federal and state laws expressly forbid retaliation, it still happens. An employer may try to retaliate against an Ohio nurse who has blown the whistle by:

  • Firing or laying off
  • Demoting or denying things such as work promotions and overtime
  • Denying benefits to an employee
  • Failing to hire or rehire a whistleblower
  • Intimidation
  • Making threats

If you believe that you have experienced retaliation, you are protected by law, and you may have the right to file a complaint.

You can file a retaliation complaint with your local OSHA office, if OSHA is implicated, in person or online.

You can also seek legal advice from an employment lawyer who has experience in handling whistleblower cases before you take steps to whistleblow or at any point during the whistleblowing process.

Consult with a Whistleblower Protection Lawyer

Are you a nurse who has witnessed conduct that violates federal, state, or local laws or conduct that could pose a danger to the public’s health and safety? If you have and you are considering reporting the conduct, it can be extremely helpful to have a whistleblower protection lawyer from The Friedmann Firm LLC on your side.

The whistleblower process can be complex for anyone. With a whistleblower protection lawyer helping you, you will have their experience and assistance throughout the process.

You can reach out to our team online or over the phone at 614-610-9755 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today!