No Right to A Jury Trial in a Whistleblower Case against Health Facilities

This month, the California Supreme Court decided a very important decision for health facility employers and employees.  California law, at Health & Safety Code section 1278.5, provides protections for patients, nurses, members of a medical staff, or other health care workers who notify government entities of suspected unsafe patient care and conditions.  A health care facility is prohibited from then discriminating or retaliating.  Health care facilities who do discriminate or retaliate are subject to civil fines and attorneys’ fees.  In Shaw v. Superior Court (2017), Case No. S221530, the California Supreme Court determined that one who brings a claim against a health care facility for whistleblower discrimination or retaliation under section 1278.5 does not have a right to a jury trial.  There is, however, a right to a jury trial if an employee of a health care facility brings a claim under a wrongful termination cause of action arising from the same facts.  The Court’s decision can be found here.

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