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Former medical resident claims sexual harassment at hospital

A woman in Indiana recently claimed that she was a victim of sexual harassment at a hospital at which she had been completing her medical residency. She filed a lawsuit, seeking damages in the millions of dollars for not only sexual harassment but also a lost career as well as intimidation. The hospital and one of its former physicians, along with his wife, has reached a settlement in the case.

The woman said she was a first-year medical resident at the health care facility when she was harassed by the doctor. The doctor, who was the resident program's associate director, reportedly had multiple sexual encounters with the woman at her home and even smoked pot with her twice there. The woman said that she decided to end their relationship after half a year, but the doctor reportedly continued to send her gifts and letters and even broke into the woman's house.

According to the woman, the doctor also gave her bad performance reviews; this caused her to be put on probation, and she was eventually dismissed from her residency program. The woman sought damages totaling a minimum of $8 million. The payout that was eventually made as part of the settlement is most likely greater than $1 million, though the specific details were not disclosed.

Employers in Indiana and elsewhere are prohibited from allowing a work environment in which employees are sexually harassed. If having sex with a superior is considered a condition of employment, or if it is treated as the basis of decisions related to the employee's employment, this is also deemed sexual harassment. When a worker is the victim of sexual harassment in Indiana, he or she has the right to file a civil claim against the employer. Remedies resulting from a successfully litigated case may include monetary damages and/or reinstatement to a prior employment position, depending on the specific circumstances involved.

Source: The Indianapolis Star, "St. Vincent Hospital settles sexual harassment case", Jeff Swiatek, June 5, 2015

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