The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 010 : Whistleblower Protection(Cite as: 21 V.S.A. § 507)
§ 507. Whistleblower protection; health care employees; prohibitions; hearing; notice
(a) For the purposes of this subchapter:
(1) The "American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)" means the national organization that developed the Magnet Recognition Program. The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes excellence in nursing services and is based on quality indicators and standards of nursing practice as defined in the American Nurses Association's Scope and Standards for Nurse Administrators. The ANCC has the authority to designate "Magnet" status to hospitals that have demonstrated their current and ongoing commitment to excellence in nursing practice.
(2) "Employee" means any person who performs services for wages or other remuneration under the control and direction of any public or private employer.
(3) "Employer" means:
(A) a hospital as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 1902(1); or
(B) a nursing home as defined in 33 V.S.A. § 7102(7).
(4) "Improper quality of patient care" means any practice, procedure, action, or failure to act of an employee or employer that violates any provisions of the Nurse Practice Act, codes of ethics, hospital policies, or any other established standards of care related to public or patient health or safety.
(5) "Law" means any law, rule, or regulation duly enacted or adopted by this State, a political subdivision of this State, or the United States.
(6) "Public body" means:
(A) the United States Congress, any State legislature, or any popularly elected local government body, or any member or employee thereof;
(B) any federal, State, or local judiciary, or any member or employee thereof, or any jury;
(C) any federal, State, or local regulatory, administrative, or public agency or authority, or instrumentality thereof;
(D) any federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, prosecutorial office, or police or peace officer; or
(E) any division, board, bureau, office, committee, or commission of any of the public bodies described in this subdivision.
(7) "Retaliatory action" means discharge, threat, suspension, demotion, denial of promotion, discrimination, or other adverse employment action regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment.
(8) "Supervisor" means any person who has the authority to direct and control the work performance of an employee.
(b) No employer shall take retaliatory action against any employee because the employee does any of the following:
(1) Discloses or threatens to disclose to any person or entity any activity, policy, practice, procedure, action, or failure to act of the employer or agent of the employer that the employee reasonably believes is a violation of any law or that the employee reasonably believes constitutes improper quality of patient care.
(2) Provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, a hearing, or an inquiry that involves allegations that the employer has violated any law or has engaged in behavior constituting improper quality of patient care.
(3) Objects to or refuses to participate in any activity, policy, or practice of the employer or agent that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law or constitutes improper quality of patient care.
(c) Subdivisions (b)(1) and (3) of this section shall not apply unless an employee first reports the alleged violation of law or improper quality of patient care to the employer, supervisor, or other person designated by the employer to address reports by employees of improper quality of patient care, and the employer has had a reasonable opportunity to address the violation. The employer shall address the violation under its compliance plan, if one exists. The employee shall not be required to make a report under this subsection if the employee reasonably believes that doing so would be futile because making the report would not result in appropriate action to address the violation.
(d) Nothing in this subchapter shall be deemed to diminish the rights, privileges, or remedies of any employee under any law or under any collective bargaining agreement or employment contract. (Added 2003, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)