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Doctor Claims Retaliation after Reporting Recorded Phone Calls

Dr. Eric Haufrect, MD, a doctor from Houston Methodist Hospital, recently filed a lawsuit claiming his demotion from vice chairman of Methodist’s obstetrics and gynecology department was due to his having raised concerns about the legality of recording telephone conversations on hospital lines.

Haufrect alerted hospital administrators to the recording after a nurse told him a phone technician had explained it to her. The hospital administrators told Haufrect that his department could not opt out of the recordings, even when he questioned whether the recordings violated HIPAA laws. Haufrect stated in the lawsuit that Methodist’s attorney told him “the tapes had been erased and that there was ‘no harm, no foul.”

The hospital claims the recordings were only made on patient appointment lines, which is a legal practice under Texas law. She also stated that an investigation was launched when Haufrect reported the practice and that “appropriate actions were taken.”

Hospital Claims Demotion Was Not Retaliation

According to a statement issued by the hospital, Haufrect was “… removed from this position for unfortunately choosing not to fulfill his obligations. This position is an appointed position in our physician group and when Dr. Haufrect joined he agreed that he could be removed as vice chair of the department at any time.”

Haufrect’s lawsuit is seeking $1 million in damages and reinstatement of his position as vice chairman.

Retaliation, especially the kind that involves demotion or termination, can be a common occurrence in the workplace and is a tactic some employers use to prevent employees from reporting wrongdoing. We have recovered millions of dollars in benefits for workers in wrongful employment termination cases.

When people call us immediately, we can help them secure their unemployment benefits, which employers often challenge. Once we secure those benefits, it gives our clients some breathing room while we work on getting our clients compensated under wrongful termination laws. The loss of a job is one of the most traumatic things we suffer outside of harm and death to loved ones. The choice of legal representation is important in all matters, but especially the loss of a job. Call an experienced employment lawyer if you are fired or if your employer is asking you to resign and sign a document for money. Signing documents could prevent you from getting much more in benefits and permit the employer to silence you with binding confidentiality.

For more information or to speak to an attorney about wrongful termination or retaliation in the workplace, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377.

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