Recently a federal jury awarded a pathologist a $7.6 million retaliation verdict. In Renta v. Cook County, a jury determined that a health agency had retaliated against a physician – Dr. Vivian Renta – after she complained about substandard hospital policies and the quality of care patients were receiving. The verdict represents damages for back pay, front pay, lost pension benefits and pain and suffering.
If you believe you have suffered an adverse employment action as the result of complaining about discrimination – or participated as a witness is someone else’s complaint of discrimination, you may have a claim for retaliation. If you feel you have been treated unfairly at work, consulting with a knowledgeable Georgia employment retaliation attorney is an important first step to determining your rights and evaluating whether you may have a claim.
In Renta, the physician sued after she was terminated and was declared “incompetent,” a virtual “death sentence” for physicians seeking to obtain a new job. As stated by a representative, “An adverse employment decision that takes away a doctor’s right to practice and their privileges at the hospital is the equivalent of the professional death sentence.”
Just what constitutes retaliation may differ in each employment situation. Although in some situations retaliation consists of termination, in other cases, it may be adverse actions such as being placed on undesirable shifts or assigned to a “worse” location.
Here, management became increasingly hostile to Renta after she became openly critical of lapses and negligent practices within the pathology department where she worked. Dr. Renta’s fellow pathologists also falsely accused her of failing to follow proper procedures. In 2003 she filed a national origin and gender discrimination lawsuit. In 2004, she was discharged from her job.
At trial, the jury determined the actions of the health system sufficiently constituted retaliation and found in favor of Renta.
The bottom line is if you believe that you or someone you know at work has been retaliated against, you can fight back. For more information or if you believe you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation at work, contact the experienced Georgia employment discrimination attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP.