Former Oregon medical resident sues hospital alleging it breached sexual harassment settlement

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A former medical resident at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland is suing the school a second time alleging the academic health system breached a settlement in in a previous sexual harassment case, according to a July 12 Oregon Live report.

Six things to know:

  1. The student initially sued the school in 2018, alleging the teaching hospital retaliated against her over her complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination. The two parties settled, with the medical school agreeing to pay $100,000. In return, the student would have to resign from her residency position Oct. 31, 2018.

  2. Her lawsuit filed July 10 alleged the school shared negative information about her with prospective employers, commented on the existence of the settlement and failed to provide a reference letter to her, breaching the terms of the settlement. The alleged victim is seeking $20 million in damages, including $15 million in economic damages from lost employment opportunities. 

  3. The original lawsuit complained she encountered several cases of sexual harassment while working as a resident between 2015 and 2017. In one example, she alleges an assistant medical professor forced her and another female resident to watch a sexually suggestive video in a dark room while he danced in a sexual manner and prevented her from leaving the room, according to court documents.

  4. According to reports, she complained to the school and in response it allegedly "set higher workload demands and intensified requirements." As a result of the alleged discrimination, she suffered severe depression. Physicians and medical professors from the teaching hospital submitted letters in support of her, adding that she was labeled as inadequate by program leaders early in her residency timeline, according to court records.

  5. When asked for a comment, a spokesperson shared a statement with Becker's that OHSU President Danny Jacobs, MD, shared with its staff and patients. Dr. Jacobs stated "some residents are unable to meet program requirements and are recommended for dismissal. With health and safety first and foremost in our minds, the decision to dismiss a resident is extremely difficult for all involved and only undertaken as a last resort after appropriate due process."

  6. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is investigating the handling of various sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination complaints, Oregon Live reported.

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