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SLU MD Graduate Denied Promised Promotion, Dismissed for Reporting Racism at Jefferson Barracks VA

This case bears witness to alleged racism, discrimination, sexual harassment and fraudulent administrative actions that prompted St. Louis University MD graduate, Dr. Jane Doe, to blow the whistle and reveal the full extent of the story. Doe filed a racism/sexual harassment/Veterans Affairs (VA) government fraud complaint with the Missouri U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) in Aug. 2014. Mediation is still ongoing in 2015.

Doe’s career was promising, until Doe ran afoul of Dr. Muhammad Atthar Naeem and Dr. Robert M. Heaney for reporting alleged racism, according to a statement of complaint filed with the EEOC.

In her complaint, Doe reveals she started a psychiatry Fellowship program appointed by St. Louis University School of Medicine to proceed at Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center, under the supervision of physician Naeem. Dr. Jothika Manapalli was her program director.

Doe allegedly heard Naeem refer to African American veterans seeking psychiatric care as being mostly drug seekers, and further referred to them as “stupid Americans.” She also claims to have been advised by Naeem that African American nurses had very limited intellectual abilities and that Doe would need to make things simple for them to grasp.

Allegedly, Doe further witnessed Naeem give honors grades to rotating foreign-born doctors and medical students from St. Louis University School of Medicine, even if they did not report for work.

Inappropriate sexual remarks were directed at Doe from Naeem, and she was allegedly asked frequently if she would introduce herself as his girlfriend because his wife did not care if he did. Later it was discovered that prior sexual harassment complaints were made against Naeem during his residency under Manapalli at St. Louis University.

Naeem allegedly falsified government medical records indicating he had seen patients he did not see. Doe claims he allegedly said he could do what he pleased and did not have to see his patients since they were in a controlled environment.

Doe was expecting a job promotion within two months and reported all incidents to her program director Manapalli. He did not follow University protocol in addressing the complaints, and instead called Naeem and his best friend to verify Doe’s claims. Later that day, Doe discovered her vehicle had four slashed tires.

Doe allegedly took her grievances to a higher entity at her place of employment, the Graduate Medical Education Director at St. Louis University School of Medicine, Dr. Heaney. She wanted assurances that her promotion would not be affected and that other staff would be protected. Heaney allegedly assured her that the complaints would not affect her promotion and that she would be protected.

Doe was not promoted. She intends to prove that Heaney approached and threatened her with dismissal that subsequently resulted in actual termination and being ostracized from the University.

This story, as told by Doe, is not just about racism and harassment at an inpatient VA psychiatric facility. It is about alleged harassment and racism on a university campus. Nationwide campus riots tell similar stories in graphic demonstrations and confrontations.

Despite evident unrest across the nation in relation to racism on university and college campuses, the issue continues to rear its head when administrative officials aim to keep such matters quiet and allow the practice to continue, either due to inaction or ineffective action.

If mediation efforts are unsuccessful, the EEOC will issue a right to sue notice and Doe’s complaint will promptly be filed in U.S. District Court.

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A few pointers if you are sexually harassed

Sexual harassment, and harassment in general, are rampant in workplaces across the U.S. Despite efforts to educate about the acts’ illegality and numerous cases tried and won by the EEOC, media reports reveal that sexual harassment is still a depressing reality. Consider recent high-profile lawsuits such as those against Zillow, GitHub and Yahoo’s Maria Zhang, or the incendiary lawsuit developing over the firing of Dov Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel.

Are you being sexually harassed in the workplace? Being harassed by intimidation or bullying? No matter how the harassment is transpiring, it is illegal. Speak to an experienced employment attorney to find out what you need to do to deal with the situation. You have rights. Protect yourself.

It does not matter how old or young you are, anyone may be the unwilling victim of sexual harassment. Do not let the matter slide, even given how uncomfortable you are about it happening. Speak up and create a record of having spoken to those in a position to assist you at work. Tell the harasser his or her actions and behavior bother you, that you are not willing to put up with it and that it constitutes harassment.

Keep a detailed record of every incident that transpires, what you did and said, who you spoke to, what they said, how many times unsettling advances were made, whether the person backed down or escalated their behavior, what the human resources department said, if there was an investigation and so forth. Make sure your journal is detailed. You will want to show it to an attorney.

Are you working in a toxic environment where harassment is part of the work culture because management chooses to look the other way or not enforce any policies they may have on the books? Have you advocated for yourself, only to have your cries for help fall on deaf ears? Is the boss the harasser? Keep notes on this as well.

If you continue to bring the matter up and no one responds appropriately, or you are fired, it’s time to retain legal counsel. At any time during the process of journaling what is happening in the workplace, you may seek advice from a competent employment attorney. The first hour with the lawyer is usually free.

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