Calif. hospital to pay 3 former employees $1.7M in harassment suit

Community Hospital of Long Beach (Calif.) and the former manager of the hospital's psychiatric unit have been ordered to pay $1.7 million to three ex-employees who alleged they were subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination, according to the Long Beach Patch.

The plaintiffs accused Keith Kohl, RN, who directed the hospital's psychiatric unit and was employed by Memorial Psychiatric Health Services, of discrimination. The female plaintiffs alleged Mr. Kohl flaunted his homosexuality, creating a hostile work environment. They further alleged he gave preferential treatment to gay males.

In their suit, the plaintiffs argued their employment with the hospital was wrongfully terminated, while the hospital claimed they had been fired for putting a patient in restraints without a physician's orders and lying during an investigation into the incident.

After nearly three hours of deliberation, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, finding evidence of sexual harassment, discrimination, failure to prevent harassment and discrimination, wrongful termination, defamation and negligent supervision.

Juliette Gable, CFO of MPHS, testified Monday that the company will be unable to pay the damages awarded in the case, as the company is operating at a deficit, according to the report.

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