In October 2013, Plaintiff began employment with Defendant County Health Department as a staff physician. During his employment, Plaintiff made reports of what he thought were violations to federal immigration laws, sexual harassment and discrimination laws, and regulations that govern the practice of medicine. Plaintiff was fired and alleges retaliation and wrongful termination.
Plaintiff reported that a former physician may have falsified medical diagnoses on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form that would allow immigrant patients to seek a medical waiver from certain requirements for U.S. citizenship. This would allow the patients to obtain U.S. citizenship and then become eligible for public assistance benefits that could be used, in part, to compensate the defendant employer. Plaintiff told the defendants that he was going to report this information to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Department, but it was requested that he not do so until they could investigate his claims internally. After the defendants failed to do an adequate internal investigation, the plaintiff made a report to ICE. The plaintiff also reported that he believed another doctor may be practicing medicine while under the influence of alcohol, and that another physician had made sexist and sexually inappropriate comments during a meeting.
In August 2014, the plaintiff contacted the Director of the Oregon Board of Medicine to report concerns that he and other physicians were being asked to practice medicine outside their scope of practice when assigned to be the overnight/weekend on-call provider. A few days after the plaintiff reported his concerns about immigration fraud, he was called into a meeting where he was counseled about needing to respect “management structure” and the “chain of command.” The plaintiff believed he was being chastised for threatening to make a report to ICE, and being instructed to not report concerns outside the health department. Shortly after this meeting, the plaintiff claimed a co-worker told him to “be careful” as she had overheard the lead provider at the clinic complaining about him.
In August 2014, Director of the Oregon Board of Medicine contacted the medical director at the health department to discuss the plaintiff’s concerns about physicians being asked to practice outside their scope of practice. The next day, the plaintiff was placed on administrative leave for performance issues. Plaintiff claimed his superiors would not specify the performance related issues, and the month before he had had a positive performance review and was given a pay raise. The plaintiff was terminated in August 2014, just shy of a year from his employment date, because his superiors determined his “continued employment with the Department of Health is not in the best interest of the County.” Plaintiff was at the hospital with his wife for complications related to her pregnancy when he was informed of his termination.
The defendants disputed the plaintiff’s allegations of retaliation and wrongful termination. Instead, the defendants claimed his supervisors had to speak with him about his rude tone and inappropriate behavior in front of patients after receiving complaints from others. Those complaints coincide with the timing of the plaintiff’s concerns about immigration fraud. However, the parties were able to reach a settlement prior to trial for $90,000. 
This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any employment matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.
If you feel you have been mistreated by your employer or in your place of employment and would like to explore your employment law options, contact the experienced employment law attorneys today at 203-221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.
 Martin vs. Multnomah County Health Department, 15 Or.Lit.Arb.Rpts. 250, 2015 WL 5926580 (Aug. 1, 2015).