Spine ASC owner gets $1.4M sexual harassment suit overturned

A 2016 verdict favoring a former ASC employee who accused the center's owner and medical director of sexual harassment was overturned, according to a July 29 appeals court notice and information from Bloomberg Law.

The plaintiff — a former surgical technologist at an Oregon-based ASC is identified in the lawsuit as H.K. — sued the center and its surgeon owner, alleging sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress and battery.

The defendants appealed the roughly $1.4 million decision awarded to H.K., saying the trial court improperly admitted evidence related to another worker's sexual harassment claim.

The trial court allowed evidence from a Bureau of Labor Industries investigation into another former worker's sexual harassment complaint "for the limited purpose of showing" the ASC and its owner were aware of alleged harassment of the plaintiff.

However, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that a sexual harassment claim "does not include an element of notice or knowledge when the person creating the hostile working environment is the employer or someone who stands in the employer's shoes," and that therefore, the admission of BOLI documents in this case was erroneous and harmful.

The trial court decision was reversed and remanded.

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