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Hospital sued by former employee alleging harassment

A lawsuit alleging that an employee and several others had been sexually harassed by a physician for more than a year was filed against a California hospital by one of its former employees. The suit claims that the employee revealed a long list of incidents to management and was subsequently wrongfully discharged.

The suit accuses both the hospital and the physician of several offences that included retaliation, failure to prevent sexual harassment, defamation, patient safety whistleblowing and more. The employee had worked at the hospital for almost 11 years before she was terminated in April. She then filed the lawsuit at San Joaquin County Superior Court. The suit claimed that, beginning in 2012, the emergency room director had been involved in several incidents of sexual harassment.

According to a statement released by her attorneys, the employee had voiced her concerns about the physician's alleged behavior and whether patients may be exposed to harassment if the hospital decided against taking any disciplinary measures. Less than one month later, the hospital allegedly fired her in retaliation. The hospital claims that the employee was discharged for violating the hospital's confidentiality policy. Later, the hospital denied the former employee's request for unemployment benefits.

The hospital's decision was overturned on appeal by the California Insurance Appeals Board. The board noted that the former employee had not violated the hospital's confidentiality agreement. An attorney for the woman stated that the investigation had just gotten underway and believes that there may be additional alleged harassment sufferers that may appear. According to the woman's attorney, she filed the lawsuit not only to seek compensation for herself, but to offer protection to any possible future parties from similar behavior by hospital physicians.

Source: Lodi News-Sentinel, "Former employee sues Lodi Memorial Hospital", Kristopher Anderson, November 26, 2013

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