CU Wrongful Termination Questions

I’m working on a management multi-part question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.

A hospital respiratory therapist was terminated for comments that he made to surveyors from a hospital accreditation organization. Representatives of the organization were in the hospital to determine whether the hospital should continue to be accredited (and thus eligible for Medicaid and Medicare funding). The representatives asked to speak with the therapist, who truthfully informed them that his department’s policy of allowing entries to be made at any time during an employee’s shift conflicted with the accrediting organization’s standard that entries in patients’ charts be made immediately after treatment is provided. The therapist also opined that this jeopardized patient safety. The employee was terminated shortly after the meeting, which had also been attended by a hospital V.P. The lower courts had dismissed the therapist wrongful termination claim.

1. What was the legal issue? What did the court decide?

2. The plaintiff, a long-time employee with “excellent” work performance, was apparently terminated for being truthful about hospital record-keeping practices. Why, then, is the termination not illegal?

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