Gopal Introduces Bill Protecting Health Care Whistleblowers During COVID-19 Pandemic

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal introduced new legislation this Thursday protecting health care whistleblowers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the bill (S2509), no employer can take retaliatory action against a health care professional who speaks out against an employer’s business practice that the health care professional reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to law, or Executive Order. These practices may include conditions that violate health and safety standards, insufficient measures to alleviate exposures to communicable disease or other health or safety hazards, or improper quality of patient care.

The bill also protects any health care professional who objects to or refuses to participate in any activity, policy or practice that they reasonably believe is in violation of a law, rule, or Executive Order, or that they reasonably believe is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.

“We can’t afford to fight this pandemic with blindfolds on,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “If there’s a problem or a failure in one of our health care facilities, we need to know about it. By protecting those who are brave enough to speak out against rule-breaking, corner-cutting, or patient endangerment, we can protect New Jersey patients and bolster our fight against this disease.”

A companion bill (A4169) was previously introduced in the Assembly by Assemblyman Herb Conaway.