Donohue Cardiology Associates, a cardiology practice in Washington, Pennsylvania will pay $125,000 to settle a federal sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency recently announced.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, three cardiologists, who were owners, shareholders or officers of the medical practice, repeatedly made sexually offensive and debasing comments to a registered nurse and two other female employees. The harassment included being forced to look at sexually explicit pictures and messages on a cell phone, the EEOC claimed. The women reportedly complained about the behavior to the harassers and to other Donohue Cardiology owners or shareholders. In response, the practice allegedly terminated the registered nurse.
In addition to paying $125,000 to the three employees, the practice and its owners agreed to refrain from future sexual harassment and retaliation; ensure that owners, managers and supervisors actively monitor the workplace to prevent such conduct and promptly report any incidents to the EEOC; investigate complaints using an equal employment opportunity or human resources consultant; report all sexual harassment complaints and investigations to the EEOC; provide appropriate training; and post a settlement notice.
“This case shows that firing an employee because she complained about sexual harassment not only makes a bad situation worse, it is also illegal,” said EEOC District Director Spencer Lewis Jr.