Registered nurse and former clinical manager Joanne Cretney-Tsosie filed a lawsuit against Nevada-based Creekside Hospice several years ago in a bid to expose fraudulent practices pertaining to patient admission and eligibility, issues impacting the submission of reimbursement claims to Medicare. The case was settled this summer to the tune of $53 million, implicating conglomerate Genesis Healthcare. In this instance, and eventually with the government’s help, illegal practices were exposed and the employee associated with filing a suit was rewarded for bringing proper attention to the behavior in question.
Unfortunately, some would-be whistleblowers may otherwise fear that they will lose their jobs in the event they expose illegitimate conduct. That should never be the case. If you believe your employer is doing something illegal, you should contact an attorney immediately with every reassurance that the law is on your side.
If you see or hear something that should not be happening in your workplace, you should not be deterred from doing something about it. There are vital legal protections at your side, and an attorney specializing in employment law can guide you through the process and assure you, your coworkers, or the consumer the justice you deserve.
How the Law Protects Whistleblowers in Nevada
According to Nevada statute, employees are entitled to file complaints or testify regarding a number of issues without facing any fear of retaliation. Those issues might include anything from an employer’s discriminatory behavior to questions pertaining to occupational safety of compensation. Several different state statutes assure that employees not be legally subject to retaliation for doing the right thing.
While employment relationships in the state are generally considered of an at-will nature (meaning that an employee might be fired for any or no reason at all), these statutes prevent this kind of logic from being used in a bid to retaliate against whistleblowers. In the event that an employer is breaking the law, Nevada explicitly protects employees attempting to expose the misconduct. If you file a legitimate complaint or otherwise testify against your employer, it may not fire you or disadvantage you in any way (cutting your pay or demoting you). Should it do so, you have strong grounds for filing a lawsuit.
In addition to statute, there are also common law protections for whistleblowers in Nevada. Any kind of retaliatory discharge that may be interpreted as a violation of constitutionally or statutorily established public policy will also subject that employer to legal liability. In other words, an employer cannot retaliate against you for refusing to participate in an illegal practice or otherwise reporting the nature of that practice to proper authorities. Whatever your loyalty to an employer, your prior obligation is to the law itself. Any perceived discrepancy between those duties is your employer’s problem—not yours.
If circumstances like these begin to materialize, you should consult with an attorney in a bid to avert any undue anxiety or confusion with respect to your own plans.
Seeking Legal Help as a Whistleblower
HKM Employment Attorneys specializes in a wide variety of legal concerns that regularly impact employees, including scenarios wherein they may indeed need to blow the whistle as per awareness of illegal conduct. We enjoy national expertise and credibility, but our Las Vegas office is exceptionally capable with respect to Nevada law. We represent our clients professionally and with unyielding commitment to their rights and interests. In order to set up an appointment, simply fill out our online form located here.