Doctor Stalked by Patient Forced to Resign, She Says
LOS ANGELES (CN) – Kaiser fired a doctor stalked by a patient and made false reports about her to the medical board when she complained, according to her suit.
Christine Lee, M.D., sues Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Los Angeles County Superior Court for wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and for violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act for sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
Lee, a family medicine physician who worked for the defendant since 2015, says a patient acted inappropriately toward her during his office visits, made inappropriate remarks in messages conveyed through Kaiser’s patient portal, and sent her a package at the office, so she asked him to find a new physician at his next appointment.
The patient then became upset, groped and kissed her and exposed himself to her. She broke away and called her husband in a nearby building, but the patient left by the time he got there, according to the action.
Lee says she informed Kaiser of what had happened, and a Threat Management Meeting was held. The patient was reassigned to a male doctor in the same building, even though other doctors were available in nearby locations. According to Lee, her requests to have her office phone number changed and to have her name changed on the electronic medical record were also denied.
The patient continued to stalk her in person and via email, and to make harassing, threatening calls to Lee and her husband, she says.
Lee took a medical leave due to stress, but the patient was able to learn her return date from a Kaiser representative, so when she returned the harassment continued, the suit states.
Lee says she learned from a Human Resource representative that another Asian doctor had been harassed by the same patient and Kaiser had not protected her. Shortly after learning of this, she was told to resign or be terminated.
A few days later, Kaiser informed her that two Business and Professions Code reports had been sent to the California Medical Board falsely alleging that she had resigned to avoid an investigation, and that she was recommended to be terminated, according to the action.
Lee says she has continued to ask for a hearing before a neutral arbitrator, which has been consistently denied, as have her requests for an appeal of the forced resignation and the false reports sent to the medical board.
Lee seeks economic and non-economic general, compensatory and special damages for loss of income and mental and emotional distress, in addition to punitive damages, interest and legal costs. Lee also asks for injunctive relief. She is represented by Henry Fenton, Nicholas Jurkowitz and Randy Hsieh of Fenton Law Group in Los Angeles, California.