Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Garfield Med­i­cal Cen­ter will pay $530,000 to set­tle a law­suit filed by the U.S. Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion al­leg­ing the hos­pi­tal cre­ated an at­mos­phere that en­abled a male emer­gency room em­ployee to sex­u­ally ha­rass at least 10 fe­male em­ploy­ees. Garfield ad­min­is­tra­tors ter­mi­nated an em­ployee who re­ported the ha­rass­ment, and the hos­pi­tal fur­ther re­tal­i­ated by al­low­ing the hos­tile work environment to drive other em­ploy­ees to re­sign, ac­cord­ing to the EEOC law­suit filed in Au­gust 2010 in U.S. District Court in Los An­ge­les. The EEOC al­leged the ha­rass­ment in­cluded grop­ing, graphic de­scrip­tions of sex­ual acts, propo­si­tions for sex, ob­scene pic­tures and lewd com­ments about fe­male body parts, in­clud­ing com­ments about an un­der­age fe­male pa­tient. The in­ci­dents started in 2007, and the ha­rasser went through coun­sel­ing and was ter­mi­nated in 2009, two years af­ter other work­ers no­ti­fied the hos­pi­tal of the al­le­ga­tions, the EEOC said. The set­tle­ment in­cludes set­ting $100,000 aside as a class fund for vic­tims who haven’t come for­ward. Garfield also must main­tain a toll-free com­plaint hot­line, hire a con­sul­tant to track com­plaints, and pro­vide an­ti­ha­rass­ment and anti-re­tal­i­a­tion train­ing for staff. Of­fi­cials at 210-bed Garfield said in a state­ment that they “dis­agree with the EEOC’S char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of events,” and en­tered the agree­ment to “avoid ex­pen­sive and pro­tracted lit­i­ga­tion and are pleased to have this mat­ter con­cluded.”

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