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Los Angeles Litigation Law Firm 424-284-2401

Jury Awards $41 Million Verdict to NICU Nurse in Wrongful Termination Settlement


Being a nurse is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, and yet, new babies are a delight.  You have probably encountered a grumpy nurse or two in a doctor’s office or hospital where you were a patient.  At any given moment, nurses are dealing with anxious patients, demanding doctors, passive-aggressive coworkers, and incompetent administrators.  The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is always dark and quiet, no matter the time of night.  NICU nurses deal with the most fragile babies and the most frightened parents.  When you go to the NICU to cuddle your tiny baby and be grateful that he or she is one day closer to being big enough to come home, you don’t imagine that the usual workplace nastiness that you experience in most workplace settings could happen here, but workplace nastiness can happen anywhere.  If your job is to care for the most vulnerable people, and your employer punished you for doing just that, contact a Los Angeles retaliation lawyer.

New Babies Are Adorable, No Matter Your Age

Last month a court awarded $41 million in damages to a NICU nurse from Oakland who was fired from her job in 2019.  In her lawsuit, which she originally filed in 2021, the nurse alleged wrongful termination of employment, age discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and disability discrimination.  The plaintiff, who was the oldest nurse in the NICU, claimed the she was fired after complaining to her managers that the NICU was understaffed and that she witnessed the following incidents that put the NICU’s tiny patients in danger:

  • A nurse failed to feed a baby at the time scheduled in the baby’s care plan. (News sources did not say how long the baby went without a feeding)
  • Two nurses discussed with each other which catheter to use on a baby, but neither one knew. They reached a decision without consulting the plaintiff, who knew which one to use.  (News sources did not indicate this, but it stands to reason that the plaintiff showed them the correct catheter in time for them not to use the wrong one.)
  • A staff member violated HIPAA medical privacy regulations by giving health information about a baby to a man who had not yet established legal paternity for the baby.

At trial, lawyers for the employer argued that the employer’s decision to terminate the plaintiff’s employment was not due to her whistleblower complaint, nor to her age and disability.  They argued that the plaintiff’s termination was because she endangered patients, such as by using her personal cell phone in a baby’s nursery room (NICUs have very strict infection control rules) and by placing her bare feet on the edge of an isolette incubator that had a baby inside.

Speak With a Los Angeles Employment Discrimination and Retaliation Lawyer

A Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer can help you if an employer fired you based on a protected characteristic such as age or disability, or in retaliation for making a complaint.  Contact Litigation, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call (424)284-2401.


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