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Whistleblower Act Up For Debate In Michigan Supreme Court

Apr 13, 2017

Michigan Supreme Court Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The Michigan Supreme Court today will consider whether conversations with an attorney trigger the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.


A nurse who revealed a hospital patient’s identity says she’s protected under the act.

Tammy McNeill-Marks worked for MidMichigan Medical Center in Alma.  A court had granted her a personal protection order against another woman.  That woman showed up as a patient in the hospital, and McNeill-Marks told her lawyer. 

The hospital says that violated patient privacy laws.

Sarah Willey is the hospital’s attorney.  She said the act does not apply to conversations with attorneys. 

“Quite frankly it subjects employers to potential lawsuits under the Whistleblower Protection Act in a way that’s much much broader than the legislator could have intended,” she said.

But McNeill-Mark’s attorney disagrees.  Russell Babcock said looking at the plain reading of the statute, his client is protected under the Whistleblower law. 

“If the defendant has issues with the statute they should take it to the state legislature, which is where those questions should be addressed,” he said.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org