BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - When a nurse refused to perform CPR at Glenwood Gardens independent living facility in March, the company enforced a policy that prohibited its employees to provide CPR to those in need.
Now, Assembly Bill 633 introduced by assembly member Rudy Salas, is trying to keep a business from creating this type of policy in the first place. 23ABC News sat down with Steve Karcher, an attorney, who says the bill is headed in the right direction, but raises corners on how it could affect the local economy.
"The bill seems to preclude much risk for an employee acting in good faith who is attempting to save the life of another person, which I hope we all would want to do, but it does not seem to preclude exposure or liability for the employer," Karcher said.
Currently, employers can implement safety policies that can trump the Good Samaritan Law. While this new proposal prevents employers from restricting CPR, it does not release business owners of liability or a lawsuit, something no small business wants.
"The larger businesses have trained people on staff, but it could be quite a burden for small businesses. They may be lucky and have someone on staff but to hire or train someone is quite a financial burden," Karcher said.
It also has employees walking a tight line between their job and their instincts.
"If a person is fully capable of performing CPR on someone who is possibly choking, you have to weigh out whether you want to act on your own intuition or risk the possible livelihood of your boss or owner of the restaurant you're working for," Billie Fox, a restaurant employee, said.
Additionally, if a person does not want to be resuscitated, it can become a complicated situation.
"If they have a 'do not resuscitate' order, they might be very upset to be resuscitated and how is an employer suppose to know that when that information is protected? The laws written may require employers to know something that they are not legally allowed to know," Karcher said.
AB 633 passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and is now under review by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.