10.51.05.17

.17 Nonretaliation.

A. A licensee shall establish, maintain, and follow a nonretaliation policy that ensures that an employee who in good faith reports to the Secretary or the Department an issue related to data integrity or unethical or fraudulent conduct will not be subject to any form of discrimination or retaliation.

B. An employee who works in a forensic laboratory may disclose information to the Secretary that the employee believes evidences a violation or possible violation of a standard or requirement set forth in this subtitle or Health-General Article, Title 17, Subtitle 2A, Annotated Code of Maryland, including a standard or requirement related to data integrity or unethical or fraudulent conduct.

C. A licensee shall post the document developed by the Secretary and approved by the Department informing employees of a forensic laboratory of the procedures to report instances of noncompliance or other violations of the standards and requirements set forth in this subtitle or Health-General Article, Title 17, Subtitle 2A, Annotated Code of Maryland.

D. The Department shall develop a forensic laboratory noncompliance document that:

(1) Has contact information for reporting violations of standards and requirements for forensic laboratories, including address, phone numbers, fax number, and website;

(2) Has a statement about nonretaliation and nondiscrimination against anyone reporting noncompliance or other violations for forensic laboratories; and

(3) Is signed by the director of the Office of Health Care Quality.

E. The Department shall distribute to each quality assurance manager of a forensic laboratory the document referenced in §D of this regulation.

F. A licensee shall ensure that the document referenced in §D of this regulation is posted in a conspicuous place visible to all forensic laboratory employees.

G. A licensee may not discriminate or retaliate against an employee of a forensic laboratory who:

(1) In good faith makes a report to the Secretary as set forth in this regulation; or

(2) Has agreed to cooperate with an investigation of the forensic laboratory.

H. A licensee may be subject to the sanctions set forth in this subtitle and Health-General Article, Title 17, Subtitle 2A, Annotated Code of Maryland, if the licensee discriminates or retaliates against an employee who in good faith makes a report to the Secretary as set forth in this regulation, including:

(1) Failing to promote the employee or provide an employment-related benefit for which the employee would otherwise be eligible;

(2) Making an adverse evaluation or decision in relation to accreditation, certification, credentialing, or licensing of the employee; or

(3) Taking a personnel action that is retaliatory to the employee.

I. An employee of a forensic laboratory who has been discriminated or retaliated against in violation of this regulation or Health-General Article, §17–2A–10, Annotated Code of Maryland, may initiate an action within 2 years of the discrimination or retaliation that is the basis for the action, and, on prevailing, shall be entitled to:

(1) Reinstatement;

(2) Reimbursement for lost wages;

(3) Work benefits lost as a result of the unlawful acts of the licensee; and

(4) Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs associated with pursuing the action.