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Kaiser hit with sexual harassment suit

Plaintiff says she complained four times and got no action

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, along with employee Emmanuel Iheke, have been hit with a superior-court sexual harassment and battery lawsuit by another employee, Adriana Arias.

The suit claims that Iheke, who sometimes supervised Arias, grabbed her breasts and buttocks, rubbed and grabbed her vagina, and asked her to have sex with him. She charges that she complained three times over five years to Kaiser management and nothing happened.

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Last August, she complained again and there was an investigation, but Iheke was never disciplined, she says. Iheke remains at the Zion Avenue facility while Arias was sent to another, but now she says she will have to go back to work at the Zion facility and work on a team that he is on.

Kaiser refuses to discuss a matter that is in litigation but says "the safety of our patients and our employees is Kaiser Permanente's number one priority," and Kaiser does not tolerate sexual harassment.

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Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, along with employee Emmanuel Iheke, have been hit with a superior-court sexual harassment and battery lawsuit by another employee, Adriana Arias.

The suit claims that Iheke, who sometimes supervised Arias, grabbed her breasts and buttocks, rubbed and grabbed her vagina, and asked her to have sex with him. She charges that she complained three times over five years to Kaiser management and nothing happened.

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Last August, she complained again and there was an investigation, but Iheke was never disciplined, she says. Iheke remains at the Zion Avenue facility while Arias was sent to another, but now she says she will have to go back to work at the Zion facility and work on a team that he is on.

Kaiser refuses to discuss a matter that is in litigation but says "the safety of our patients and our employees is Kaiser Permanente's number one priority," and Kaiser does not tolerate sexual harassment.

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Good old Kaiser. Many locals want their medical care there and nowhere else. But the big "K" gets hit with lawsuits, complaints, and prosecutions frequently. Dealing with sexual harassment should be old hat now for most organizations, and hospitals should be especially sensitive. Does this bother anyone? It should.

Jan. 11, 2014

Visduh: Of course, we don't know the circumstances -- only the allegations. But if she complained three times and got no response, and the fourth time there was an investigation that seemingly exonerated the man, this is a very interesting case, if what the plaintiff says has truth to it. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

It's bothersome because if they didn't deal with valid complaints, it reflects badly on the hospital, and if it wasn't a valid complaint, why is she still working there? We don't know about this case, but there have been many more such cases at Kaiser.

Jan. 11, 2014

Visduh: That is one of several good questions: why is she still working there? Why was she transferred back to the Zion address where she will be working with him again? Did the investigation completely clear the defendant? Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

LaLucha: This whole Sweetwater mess has been very well covered by Susan Luzzaro. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

And the connection to Kaiser is . . . ?

Jan. 11, 2014

Visduh: I don't know that there is any connection between Sweetwater and Kaiser. LaLucha seems to be complaining about bullying in general. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

LaLucha: Sexual harassment may or may not have become an epidemic. Suing to get money for alleged sexual harassment has definitely become an epidemic. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

LaLuca: It's pretty clear you are following the Eastlake scandals as they unfold. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

LaLucha: Those are all good points. However, I do not think that a rash of lawsuits over bullying would be wise. The definition of "bullying" is just too slippery. I believe that sexual harassment lawsuits -- both by women and by men -- have gone over the cliff. As I understand it, a man can sue a company if a female co-worker rubs her breast against his elbow, and he complains, and she does it again. I think this is getting crazy. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

In a case such as that, there is no "rubbed me the wrong way". Strictly speaking for myself, of course.

Jan. 11, 2014

Duhbya: It's also my understanding if a female wears a very fetching bikini. and a man stares at her, he can be sued for sexual harassment. I think this is getting rather silly. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 11, 2014

Meanwhile, still no sanctions on Wall St immorality, the true perversion.

Jan. 12, 2014

Duhbya: True. Banks pay penalties (JP Morgan Chase, e.g.) but those who committed the crimes don't. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 12, 2014

too bad its not like some years ago when lawyers did not get involved, just a some male persons in the victims life dealing with the offender in person.

Jan. 12, 2014

Murphyjunk: The legal fraternity sees sexual harassment cases as a windfall. The lawyers are salivating. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 12, 2014

The sexual harassment claims are out of control. For example, Dianne York decided 17 women were not enough to step forward about the claims against Mayor Filner. York decided to be "victim #18" and hold a TV press conference. Her claim was Filner touched her buttocks while their photograph was taken together. The photograph was taken while other people were in the room and it probably took 5 to 10 seconds to capture the picture. For that brief encounter, whether the allegations are true or not, York filed a claim for $10,000+ with the city of San Diego in August, 2013. $10,000 for what? Why didn't she say something about it when it occurred if it were so shameful. Yes, the smell of money is what drives many of these sexual harassment cases and why celebrity lawyers like Gloria Allred make it look so lucrative.

Jan. 13, 2014

Ponzi: On the day that Dianne York became the 18th person to complain of sexual harassment by Filner, I posted two blog items on her. Since 1999, she had been involved in more than 35 lawsuits in San Diego, both as plaintiff and defendant.

She was evicted from a La Jolla building in 2012. That same year, she attempted to file for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy in Los Angeles. It never went through.

I do not believe any other medium reported this, or the other negative information on the women who lined up to get handouts for alleged sexual harassment. The Reader DID report on these claims.

I saw the York/Filner photo. His hand was not on her buttocks.

Irene McCormack Jackson wants about $1.5 million. When the sheriff set up a hotline for supposed victims, he should have known what he would get. So, too, should have City Attorney Goldsmith. The sheriff's hotline was of dubious legality. I suspect that Filner was forced to plead to felonies for really asinine actions to make the sheriff's actions legal ex post facto. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 13, 2014

sexual harassment claims seem to be filling the gap for the ADA lawyers not that their scams were made public.

Jan. 13, 2014

Murphyjunk: Remember, it is not just females and their lawyers cashing in on sexual harassment claims. Men and their lawyers have discovered the scam, too. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 13, 2014

Don - I am behind - a woman keeps her job and a man had better back the F off. The status quo go to H.

Jan. 13, 2014

shirleyberan: The status quo is often twisted. Best, Don Baduer

Jan. 13, 2014

I think it's awful that such a huge organization allows for things like this to happen. I know Adriana personally and feel offended at the fact that people are assuming she is lying or making this up for other reasons that it is wrong and unfair to be treated in such a manner. She is such a hard working woman, putting her four kids through college. Has anyone thought that some people are afraid to speak up for fear to lose their job? It's not easy finding a job and that fear can keep people quiet and willing to sustain unbearable situations. I know many people out there have knowledge of how HR at Kaiser works and know how they operate. I say good for her for finally speaking up and reporting this man. Disgusting that such a person is employ in a hospital that prides itself on service to its customers and employees.

Feb. 5, 2014
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