Bill Summary for S 697 (2011-2012)

Summary date: 

Apr 19 2011

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2011-2012 Session
Senate Bill 697 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 19, 2011
PROHIBITING RETALIATION AGAINST ANY NURSE WHO MAKES A GOOD FAITH REPORT CONCERNING PATIENT MEDICAL CARE OR WHO ENGAGES IN PATIENT ADVOCACY.
Intro. by Stein.

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Bill summary

Amends GS Chapter 95, Article 21 (“Retaliatory Employment Discrimination”) to add GS 95-241.1, titled “Retaliation against nurses prohibited”. Extends protection from adverse employment consequences or other discrimination or retaliation to nurses who make a good faith report concerning patient medical care. Defines “good faith report” to mean a report having a reasonable factual or legal basis, authorized or required by GS Chapter 90, Article 9A (“Nursing Practice Act”). Also includes protection for nurses who engage in patient advocacy, and for persons who advise nurses of these rights. Immunizes nurses and advisors from civil and criminal liability that might otherwise result from their actions. Provides that nurses and advisors who are sued for behavior protected by the Act are entitled to recover costs of defending the action, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and actual and punitive damages if specified conditions are met.
Gives nurses and advisors injured by violation of the Act a right to seek the greater of actual damages (including damages for mental anguish) or $5,000, exemplary damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees. Creates a rebuttable presumption that adverse employment consequences suffered by a nurse or advisor who engaged in a protected act were in response to that act. Provides that a State or local government entity sued under this Act is held to have waived governmental immunity. Provides for report of prohibited retaliatory behavior to the appropriate licensing authority, and authorizes Commissioner of Labor to impose a civil penalty up to $25,000 in addition to other penalties, with proceeds to go to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund under GS 115C-457.2. Requires nurse to seek recourse through internal quality control processes before proceeding under Act. Amends GS 95-241(a) to make conforming change.

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