Judge Rules Woman Can Take Sexual Harassment Case Against Hospital to Trial

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge ruled that a young woman can take to trial her lawsuit against Barlow Respiratory Hospital that alleges her boss sexually harassed her for more than a year.

Ruling Thursday in the hospital's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's lawsuit, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian tossed only Jane Doe 2's claim for gender violence, which she conceded should not go forward. The surviving claims include sexual harassment, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring and assault and battery.

“This case is about a long-serving manager/supervisor, defendant Douglas Vela, who used his power at defendant Barlow Respiratory Hospital to sexually harass numerous female employees, one of whom being plaintiff,” according to Doe 2's court papers. “Barlow brushed off plaintiff's sexual harassment complaint even though Vela admitted almost all of the sexual conduct.”

Doe 2 began working at Barlow Hospital, located near Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park, in July 2015, her court papers state. During the 18 months that she and Vela worked the same shifts or came into contact on opposite shifts, Vela consistently sexually harassed, assaulted and demanded sexual favors from the plaintiff in exchange for job benefits, Doe 2's court papers allege.

According to the court papers of the lawyers for the hospital, Vela admitted to some inappropriate behavior with Doe 2, but claimed that all of his interactions with her were consensual. But Vela was fired in July 2017 after 13 years at Barlow when the facility learned he had lied when he had assured management that he had not been involved with any other employees and that the hospital need not worry about any other co-workers coming forward with similar allegations against him, according to the hospital attorneys' court papers.

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