A former employee of the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners recently filed a successful whistleblower claim against the organization.
The board is responsible for issuing licenses to chiropractors throughout the state of California ensuring the integrity of the profession. The employee who brought the whistleblower case was a management services technician. As part of her duties, she was responsible for issuing citations to chiropractors who practiced without valid licenses.
Things became highly awkward for the management services technician on May 11, 2001 when a patient called to inquire about the license status of Dr. Sharon Ufberg, a chiropractor who happened to be the chairwoman of the Board. According to court documents, Dr. Ufberg's license had expired several months earlier. The technician informed the caller of Dr. Ufberg's license and then reported the lapsed license to her superiors.
Dr. Ufberg allegedly called the employee 15 minutes later and said that she had forgotten to pay her renewal fee. Dr. Ufberg reportedly paid the fee later that day. Although the technician repeatedly issued citations to other chiropractors during the ensuing months, the executive director of the board refused to permit the technician to cite Dr. Ufberg.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this resulted in a breakdown of the working relationship between the technician and her supervisors. This eventually culminated in a hostile work environment, which we will discuss in our next post.
Source: Arbuckle v. California Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Court of Appeal, Third District, California, 2013 WL 3467054, July 10, 2013