People’s Advocate: Health professionals who have made public disclosures are whistleblowers and they must be protected
The People’s Advocate calls for the immediate cessation of any form of revenge against the medical workers who have made disclosures regarding the quality and the insufficiency of the equipment and devices for the protection of the health professionals. The Ombudsman also recommends the operative and efficient investigation of the disclosures regarding the quality of the medical devices and the taking of measures to provide the medical personnel with the necessary protective equipment.
The People’s Advocate, Mihail Cotorobai, made these and other recommendations in the approach sent today, April 13, to the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection, Viorica Dumbraveanu.
In the approach, the Ombudsman expresses his concern about the information that has appeared in the public space such as the employees of the medical system, who have made disclosures; ;;;;6 about the quality and quantity of protective equipment, are subject to pressure from employers.
The People’s Advocate mentions that the analysis of the circumstances and the content of the disclosures made in the public space denotes that their authors fall under the scope of Law 122/2018 on whistleblowers. Respectively, the authors of the disclosures have the status of whistleblowers and must benefit from all the guarantees of protection offered by Law 122/2018 from both the employers and the People’s Advocate. At the same time, all the public disclosures regarding the quality of medical devices, the means of protection, etc. must be investigated promptly, efficiently and objectively. Or, under the conditions of state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the disclosures indicate on the prejudice of the public interest in having a safe and protected medical system, as well as on the rights of the employees in the medical sector to a safe working environment.
Taking into account the circumstances set out above, under the Law on the People’s Advocate (Ombudsman) no. 52 from 03.04.2014, Mihail Cotorobai recommended to the MHLSP the operative and efficient investigation of the disclosures regarding the quality of the medical devices and the taking of the measures to provide the medical staff with the necessary protective equipment. The Ombudsman also recommended the immediate cessation by the management staff of any form of revenge towards medical workers who made disclosures regarding the quality of medical equipment and devices.
The People’s Advocate recalls that, according to Law 122/2018, in the case of external and public disclosures of illegal practices, the protection of whistleblowers is provided by the People’s Advocate, which contributes to the defense of whistleblowers in accordance with the provisions of Law no.52 / 2014 on the People’s Advocate (Ombudsman). Mihail Cotorobai urges people who have been intimidated, subjected to pressure or revenge at work, due to internal or public disclosures, to appeal to the People’s Advocate Office for protection (by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ; by completing the online application on the official website of the People’s Advocate Office: www.ombudsman.md
(http://ombudsman.md/cererea-on-line/) ; by phone: +37360002657).
Note: Law no. 122 on whistleblowers, entered into force from November 12, 2018. Its purpose is to increase cases of disclosure of illegal practices and other disclosures of public interest by: promoting the climate of integrity in the public and private sectors; ensuring the protection of whistleblowers against revenge in the context of examining public interest disclosures of illegal practices; the prevention and sanction of revenge against whistleblowers.
The protection provided to whistleblowers under Law 122/2018:
- sanctioning the person who has taken revenge in relation to the whistleblowing or the disclosure of illegal practices or, as the case may be, of the leader of the public or private entity for not providing protection measures;
- annulment of the disciplinary sanction, found by the employer or, as the case may be, by the contentious-administrative court, which was applied to the employee as a result of a disclosure in the public interest made in good faith;
- compensation for material and moral damages incurred as a result of revenge.
2020 /04/ 13
Department for Human Rights Promotion and Communication