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Teenage Intern Sues Hospital For Sex Assault, Lack Of Supervision

A new federal lawsuit against a California hospital alleges that it failed to properly supervise one of its employees. This lack of supervision apparently allowed an employee to repeatedly harass and eventually assault a teenage intern. The suit claims that the hospital did not provide enough training or supervision to protect its young interns from potential workplace harms like sexual harassment.

According to the suit, a male teenager experienced sexual harassment from a 50-year-old male employee on a regular basis. The teenager was completing an internship. A hospital anesthesiologist allegedly had numerous sexually oriented conversations with the intern. At some point, the anesthesiologist started to hug and possibly even grope the intern.

This occurred even after the intern told the employee that he was straight and only attracted to women. The situation came to a breaking point shortly after the intern’s 18th birthday. Using a pretext, the anesthesiologist allegedly lured the teenager back to his apartment and sexually assaulted him.

The intern told his parents about the situation and they complained to the hospital. Although the hospital promptly fired the anesthesiologist, its actions came too late to prevent a harmful assault against the intern.

This lawsuit argues that the hospital should have done more to recognize the potential for teenage interns to encounter sexual harassment while in an adult workplace. Many teenagers might lack the experience and workplace judgment that older employees have when it comes to difficult, sexually charged situations. This case is even more surprising because the hospital allegedly knew about prior instances in which a female intern faced sexual harassment from a hospital employee.

Despite this history, the hospital apparently did not provide any training to help its teenage interns recognize or report inappropriate behavior from adult coworkers. The teenager’s lawsuit seeks to hold it accountable for failing to take necessary precautions before inviting high school interns into its facility.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Assaulted Teen Blames Hospital for Inaction,” Philip A. Janquart, Oct. 3, 2012

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