An Indiana appeals court affirmed the decision that a certified registered nurse fired from Indianapolis-based Riley Hospital for Children was due to behavioral problems rather than sex discrimination, The Indiana Lawyer reported July 11.
Lisa Nigro began working at the hospital in 2017 when she was recruited by anesthesiologist Senthil Sadhasivam, MD, who had implemented a model that allowed CRNAs and anesthesiologist assistants to work more closely with anesthesiologists. The model was not well received, and Dr. Sadhasivam faced criticism for an allegedly "tense" work environment, according to The Indiana Lawyer.
Ms. Nigro allegedly became the subject of complaints about her "attitude and inability to work with a team," and hospital management worried "she was undermining the department's already-delicate sense of collegiality," according to the report.
After issuing a coaching memorandum to Ms. Nigro, she was warned that her behavior would need to change if she wanted to keep her job.
A month later, she was again the subject of complaints that said she had manipulated the hospital’s timekeeping system. Hospital leaders investigated the incident, determined it was true and Ms. Nigro was fired.
Ms. Nigro then sued the hospital alleging sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and age discrimination under the Employment Act of 1967. She also alleged she was terminated because she had signed an affidavit in another hospital employee's discrimination case. She eventually abandoned the age discrimination claim, but maintained that Dr. Sadhasivam allegedly disliked women who would stand up to him.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a district court's summary judgment that there was a failure of proof of sex discrimination.
Hospital leaders additionally determined "that all employees — young, old, men, women — felt Dr. Sadhasivam treated them unfavorably," according to the report.