KRS 216B.165 requires a health care worker to report quality of care issues (as well as other issues) and also prohibits retaliation against them by the healthcare facility. A healthcare worker wrongfully terminated in retaliation for reporting quality of care issues can pursue a lawsuit for his or her damages.
The damages a healthcare worker fired in violation of the anti-retaliation prohibition of KRS 216B.165(3) may recover in their wrongful termination lawsuit includes "such damages ... sustained by reason" of the wrongful termination. This includes future lost income, often referred to as "front pay," the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled this week in MacGlashan v. Cumberland Hall Hospital.
Can a plaintiff who alleges that her employment was wrongfully terminated in violation of KRS 216B.165 assert a claim for the recovery of front pay, along with other damages she may have sustained, by reason of her discharge?
Front pay is another term for lost future income which are a garden-variety form of damages recoverable in tort cases under Kentucky law. E.g., Caton v. McGill, Ky., 488 S.W.2d 345 (1972); Middlesboro Coca-Cola Bottling Works v. Ball, 262 Ky. 101, 89 S.W.2d 875 (1936). front pay, as with lost future income, "represents a reasonable estimate of damages that will occur after the trial." As such, "the practical and functional reality [is] that [front pay] is an award of monetary damages to recompense a loss 'sustained by reason of the [KRS 216B.165] violation."
The Court's unanimous opinion was written by Justice Daniel J. Venters.