PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A former resident at OHSU is suing them for a second time, claiming the university didn’t honor a settlement agreement in a sexual harassment case.
Civil rights employment attorney Kim Sordyl said the original suit in 2018 included the accusation that there was ” a doctor who trapped her in another resident and a dark room and made them watch sexually explicit videos while he grabbed his crotch and block their way out of the room.”
When that suit was settled, Sordyl said, OHSU agreed the residency program director would provide letters of recommendation for the woman so she could complete the last 6 months of her residency at another school. But that never happened, she said.
“She can’t transfer without it,” Sordyl said. “(The program director) also agreed not to disparage her. And she went ahead and disparaged her and told prospective employers or residency programs that there is a settlement agreement in place.”
Those are some of the reasons her client filed a new, $20 million lawsuit against OHSU. The complaint filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court also accuses OHSU of discriminating against the woman based on her nationality.
“Basically said she’s too Russian to be a successful physician,” Sordyl said. “They attributed her personality and problems and clothes to being Russian and said she’s too stubborn. And this is because of her cultural background.”
This isn’t the first time Sordyl has battled OHSU in court on sexual harassment and coverup claims. She also represented a social worker who sued OHSU and a former resident known as the Tik Tok Doc for sexual harassment.
“It’s part of the culture and all they’ve done is protect that culture by gaslighting victims, by retaliating against victims,” she told KOIN 6 News.
She believes there is only one way to stop the alleged behavior from happening for good.
“We need to see the governor step in and remove those board members who are allowing this sex harassment and discrimination retaliation, remove the board members who are helping to bury it.”
What OHSU says
In an open letter to “OHSU community members,” OHSU President Danny Jacobs said he wanted to share information about the lawsuit “to be as transparent as possible without compromising the integrity of any potential litigation.”
Jacobs said, in part:
“The complaint is by a former resident and alleges breach of contract, civil rights violations, sexual harassment and discrimination based on national origin, each of which OHSU denies, and the majority of these were the subject of a previous lawsuit, which was dismissed by the court. …
“… Regrettably, despite extensive support processes, some residents are unable to meet program requirements and are recommended for dismissal. With health and safety first and foremost in our minds, the decision to dismiss a resident is extremely difficult for all involved and only undertaken as a last resort after appropriate due process. …”