Sarka v. The Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 146 Cal. App. 4th 261 (2006)

George Sarka, M.D., was employed as a primary care physician at UCLA’s student health center. He filed a grievance challenging the university’s decision to discharge him for repeatedly refusing to follow the directions of his superior to modify his approach to patient care to be more in accord with that of his colleagues. The administrative hearing officer and the trial court upheld Sarka’s termination; Sarka appealed, asserting that the hearing officer and the trial court had committed legal error by refusing to apply Business & Professions Code § 2056, which makes it a violation of public policy for an employer to penalize a physician “principally for advocating for medically appropriate health care.” The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the trial court had properly considered the statute and had determined nonetheless that Sarka was not terminated “principally for advocating medically appropriate health care” but for being wasteful of health-service resources and of student time.