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January 17, 2023

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in nearby Pomona, California, has recently become the target of two lawsuits. One involves a former employee claiming to be the victim of racial harassment. The other, which may be of particular interest to readers of this blog, involves a former human resources director for the hospital who alleges she was wrongfully terminated after complaining about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Shaunette Miller was hired in June 2019 and alleges that her supervisor began sexually harassing her shortly after. She claims he made “lewd and inappropriate comments” regarding private matters and Miller’s personal appearance.

Miller filed a complaint accordingly. Per her lawsuit, she discovered that the investigator who was assigned to her case was in fact close with her supervisor. If this is so, their relationship could have resulted in unfair bias.

According to Miller’s lawsuit, she “expressed deep concerns about this conflict of interest and lack of objectivity, but continued to actively cooperate with the investigation.”

When the investigation was concluded, the report stated that Miller’s supervisor had not engaged in any wrongdoing. Miller was fired on August 10, shortly after the final report was released.

Miller’s lawsuit states that she incurred significant financial losses and experienced emotional distress as a result of the way in which the hospital’s management failed to properly address the situation. She is currently seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The hospital has released a statement responding to both Miller’s lawsuit and the lawsuit from a former employee alleging racism. According to a hospital spokesperson, “Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has become aware of two lawsuits, the first alleges wrongful termination and the second alleges workplace harassment. PVHMC is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate any form of workplace harassment. As company policy, PVHMC does not comment on the details of active litigation.”

What This Case Tells Us About Harassment Complaints

If you believe you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at work, it’s wise to file a formal complaint. Your employee handbook may provide instructions for doing so.

That said, as cases such as this one indicate, filing such a complaint doesn’t guarantee a proper resolution. While it’s wise to file a complaint so that you can show you attempted to address the matter via the “proper channels” should you decide to take legal action later, you must be prepared for the possibility that HR or any other department responsible for handling complaints won’t fulfill their duty. You may even face retaliation for filing a complaint in the first place.

Luckily, you have other options when this occurs. If you suspect you’ve been retaliated against, meet with a legal professional to discuss your options. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation for your losses/damages.

At Azadian Law Group, a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney is on hand to help you navigate the process of pursuing justice in these circumstances. To learn more about how we can assist you when you’ve been illegally let go, contact us online or call us at 213-229-9031.

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