Blackballed After Blowing the Whistle

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about not b being hired after whistleblowing:

I was employed by the University of California and left in 2008 after being a whistleblower reporting a crazy situation in my department that was investigated and found to be a major threat to patient safety, and in fact, likely had resulted in patient deaths. I am now working in research and academics, with the UC system ( UCI, UCLA, UCSD), being a predominate employer. They are always vigorously recruiting, yet when I answered in the affirmative to the question (Have you ever been a UC employee?) I have found utter silence, despite being ridiculously qualified.

Given this is a state job, can they really blackball me from state service? In my settlement, I prevailed and 2 investigations (internal and external) BOTH revealed my assertions were correct and that indeed the doctor’s girlfriend (an RN) was found to be practicing medicine without a license, prescribing illegally and billing Medicare fraudulently. Patients were injured and at least one death brought this to light. As part of my settlement, the Chancellor secured a letter of reference from the University indicating that I was a fine employee etc and 360,000.

Strangely, it does not feel as though I am a “fine employee” as I have never received even a phone interview, despite surpassing all job requirements and the shortage with near constant recruiting to fill dozens of open spots. The UC system is an employer of choice for research and to be blackballed limits over 50% of job opportunities, if not more, What can I do? This seems unethical given patients lives were threatened, even they admit this to be true, I only reported this activity after the nurse killed a young patient of mine.
Singed –A Fine Employee 

Dear Fine Employee: My note to you two days ago informed you that our site doesn’t provided legal advice. Please know that doesn’t mean we have no concern for you. In fact I believe What should happen to whistle blowers is that they should be praised for revealing wrongdoing and promoted, but that rarely happens.

You are now working in research and academics with the UC system. You say you have excellent qualifications but are unable to be employed as you were previously as a nurse within the UC system. Your attempts have resulted in silence rather than an invitation for an interview. (I presume you mean attempts applying by letter or Internet). Also based on your submitted question, must have had an attorney after being fired when you blew the whistle and you secured a settlement. Apparently that settlement didn’t enable to return to work where you had been or provide comparable outplacement. That is unfortunate and undoubtedly the investigations were emotionally stressful.

You have found alternate kind of employment, but are disappointed that you have not been able to work at what you previously did. Probably you have carefully prepared a resume and scanned the Internet for jobs.. What are your options at this stage in your life? I will suggest several, some that you probably have tried and dismissed, but some you might not have tried:

  1. Seek your state’s Labor Department advice. There should be special help for whistleblowers, just as there is for discrimination EEO help.

  2. Find non-government counsel–advice from ACLU, Jewish Organization Placement, Catholic and municipal agencies. Surely some communities have agencies that seek medically qualified personnel.

  3. Take time-out to get certification for a specialization within or outside what you now have. That possibly could lead you into a medial job that you want.

  4. Return to your previous place of employment. Try to reconnect with former coworkers. What have you got to lose? Anyway to renew a network is positive, better that playing it solo. We all need support especially when feeling excluded.

  5. Consult with Corporate Human Resource specialists outside the medical community. Almost all business employ nurses and medical assistants. Such employment might lead to what you want in a medical facility. Possibly a medical insurance company might employ someone to investigate cases such as was yours. Drug companies have nurse and medical persons to administer shots as do many private doctors and clinics.

  6. Explore, perhaps with the legal firm that helped you, the need for investigators.

  7. Join an association of those in your profession. Possibly join Toastmasters and practice speaking–telling your story.

  8. Engage a placement firm familiar with the kind of medical work you want. Meet with those who headhunt. Candidly apprise them of what occurred and what has happened since.

  9. Think of what you can do now that you couldn’t do when employed before. Possibly joining the peace corps or helping with Doctors without Borders. Or helping with clinics set up for national disasters in this country or where things are really difficult. Or closer to home, find part-time work as a visiting nurse, as a school nurse, or a counselor to teens or disadvantaged.

None of these may strike you as a solution, but they might while rumbling about in your head spark some ideas worth trying. Keeping fit in body and mind is especially important when times are tough. I hope you are actively staying fit and finding ways to enjoy life. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is more than my signature sentence. It is my wish for you as you struggle and it is saying thanks to you for having courage to do what you felt was right. –William Gorden