LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– A Las Vegas woman told 8 News Now she believes her voice has finally been heard after reporting what she calls unsafe practices at a local medical office in 2014.
“It ruined my life,” Helen Armstrong said of the process. “It was devastating, like I said, I have lost a lot.”
Armstrong was working at a local medical practice in 2014, when she said she reported to Nevada State Occupational Safety and Health Administration what she believed were ‘unsafe practices,’ including the distribution of expired drugs and the use of contaminated syringes.
Armstrong said she was told she would remain anonymous but claims state officials notified her former bosses of her claims against them, which reportedly led to retaliation and her eventual firing.
“Being fired, not having health insurance,” Armstrong recalled. “Diagnosed with cancer, uh, it wasn’t good.”
She tried to get her life back but hit numerous legal roadblocks until the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed her a victory this week, allowing her 2017 lawsuit against Nevada officials to move forward.
The suit was initially dismissed by a federal judge in Las Vegas in 2020 after finding that Armstrong was an at-will employee of a private company.
John Tye, Chief Disclosure Officer of ‘Whistleblower Aid’ and Armstrong’s attorney, said the unanimous ruling in Helen’s favor would also benefit others in similar situations.
“This is an important precedent for the entire Ninth Circuit,” Tye said. “It doesn’t matter if Nevada is an ‘at-will’ state, every whistleblower has a right to be protected.”
Though Armstrong believes her battle is far from over, she’s grateful to finally feel heard and encourages others to always fight for what they think is right.
“Know that you have rights out there,” Armstrong concluded. “You have rights.”
8 News Now reached out to Nevada OSHA Friday regarding this case; a representative responded, saying the office does not have a comment.
For a look at the entire Ninth Circuit appeal filed on January 13, 2022, click here.