Since the Affordable Care Act is still relatively new and the legalities surrounding it can be confusing to California employees, there are often gaps between its implementation and what employers are required to do. When there are violations to the ACA, an employee who feels compelled to report it might fear for the person’s job. This is where whistleblower protections come in. Employees are accorded protection for retaliation if they report a violation and can be compensated if these are violated.
Title I of the law protects employees from being subject to retaliation for reporting a violation of the reforms that are part of Title I. They are also protected from retaliation for receiving a premium tax credit or a cost sharing reduction after joining a health plan that qualifies as adhering to the law. Complaining to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a right that employees have if there is any retaliation for a complaint.
Retaliation can involve wrongful termination, being laid off, having hours reduced, having pay reduced, being blacklisted, being demoted, being denied promotion or overtime, facing discipline, being denied benefits, not being hired or rehired, being intimidated, having threats lodged and having a reassignment that will negatively affect the prospects to be promoted. OSHA does not have jurisdiction to protect employees if there is a report of Medicare or Medicaid fraud or patient abuse.
The time limit to file a complaint under this law is 180 days after the retaliation has occurred. The filing should be made by contacting the OSHA or sending a complaint in writing. The agency will review the complaint to ensure that it meets the criteria for them to investigate. If the employee is proven to have had the person’s rights violated, the employer will be ordered to give the worker the job back, pay lost wages, restore the lost benefits and give other forms of relief if applicable. Those who are faced with wrongful termination due to being a whistleblower for ACA violations need to know their employee rights to be compensated with help from an experienced attorney.
Source: osha.gov, “Filing Whistleblower Complaints under the Affordable Care Act,” accessed on April 5, 2016