Hollywood, FL- A former surgical technician has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Memorial Regional Hospital and an 80 year-old surgeon who she says groped her and made inappropriate comments. The suit also alleges the hospital did not take action to stop the misconduct.
The woman who has been identified as Jane Doe No. 43 in the lawsuit claims that Juan Wester, 80, leered at her “in a sexually aggressive manner,” made inappropriate comments about her body and groped her, the Sun Sentinel reported.
In the suit, Jane Doe, alleges that in March of 2013, Juan Wester, 80, “grabbed, slapped and squeezed” her buttocks as she was preparing for surgery, the Sun Sentinel reported. She also alleges that after he grabbed her buttocks and she called him out, he bragged about it to other doctors and patients.
Jane Doe reported the incident to the hospital, but her lawsuit claims no action was taken to reprimand Wester. She also claims that she witnessed the doctor sexually harass and assault other women at the hospital.
Wester denied the allegations and said,according to the Sentinel, he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.
In a response at the request of the Sun Sentinel, a hospital spokesperson said they could not comment on the lawsuit and made it clear that Dr. Wester is a private physician and not an employee of the hospital.
Jane Doe’s suit also alleges that Wester “used his prestige and authority at the hospital” to harass her and other female hospital employees “without fear of consequence.”
There are many instances of sexual harassment that are taken seriously by an employer and addressed appropriately, but many times this is not necessarily the case. Victims retain sexual harassment attorneys when they have already gone through the process of telling the harasser to stop and filing a formal complaint. Oftentimes, filing a sexual harassment complaint results in retaliation towards the vicitm. A civil lawsuit is the last resort for many harassment victims, and despite the prevailing wisdom, most sexual harassment complaints are not frivolous money grabs; they are a means to right a wrong.
As Jane Doe’s lawsuit alleges Dr. Wester was able to get away with sexually harassing her and other employees because of his “prestige.” Employers are often reluctant to take disciplinary actions because they accused has a powerful position or may be a valued employee. The higher a position a person holds, the more reluctant an employer may be to investigate or take action when a sexual harassment allegation arises.
An employer can avoid a sexual harassment suit by address any harassment allegations whether they believe the claim to be true or not. While somewhat costly, an investigation will be able to determine if the allegations are true. If they are, then an employer must discipline the harasser appropriately. So many fail to do so, therefore the victim will seek out a sexual harassment attorney to file a lawsuit on their behalf.