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Doctor sues hospital for Sh41 million amid claims of sexual harassment

By Paul Ogemba | Dec 14th 2021 | 3 min read

A doctor is seeking Sh41 million compensation from the Aga Khan University Hospital over allegations that she was sacked for protesting against sexual harassment by a senior colleague.

Through lawyer Ong’aya Ombo, the doctor claims that the hospital mistreated and degraded her dignity when they unlawfully dismissed her on September 8, after reporting sexual harassment and assault by the institution’s senior staff.

“We are asking the court to order Aga Khan Hospital to compensate for exposing the doctor to an environment that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by the said staff with the management’s full knowledge based on previous sex scandals involving the senior staff,” said Ombo.

According to the lawyer, the doctor joined the hospital in September 2019 and was appointed a quality advisor and corporate medical liaison officer between the hospital and United Nations in addition to her role as a senior clinical officer. She claims that by virtue of their close working relations, this opened the door for her supervisor to sexually harass her.

Ombo submitted that her supervisor started organising meetings with the doctor at odd hours when most staff had left the hospital and took advantage to sexually molest her.

“Since he was her supervisor, he would call her to his office under the pretext of querying on assigned duties before 7am or after 4.30pm when there was less traffic in his office for the sole purpose of sexually harassing her,” said Ombo.

Dring such meetings, the senior staff would demand that the doctor tell him about her husband and her free times so that they could go out in addition to suggestive phone calls and messages.

On one occasion, the lawyer said that the senior colleague started touching the doctor inappropriately and when she protested, he pretended that the touches were “accidental”.

Tired by the constant pestering by her supervisor, the doctor reported the sexual harassment to the hospital management who instead of taking action against said staff assigned her a new supervisor.

“When higher ranking staff learnt that the doctor would not be reporting to him, he started targeting her using proxies. He made it clear that he would frustrate the female doctor and boasted that he was a very senior person with influence at the hospital management and board of directors,” said Ombo.

In September 2020, the doctor said she went into isolation after coming into contact with a Covid-19 patient but when she returned to work, the senior official accused her of absconding duty and wrote to the management to initiate disciplinary actions.

The false accusations continued until July this year when the doctor was summoned before the disciplinary committee before she was forced to write a resignation letter and later dismissed in September 2021.

The doctor accused the hospital of harbouring a sex pest with a history of sexually harassing female doctors and employees, and failing to take action against senior staff despite the numerous complaints.

She is demanding Sh15.6 million as compensation for underpayment for the duration she served at the institution; Sh15.2 million for unpaid overtime hours; Sh6.6 million for unfair termination of her contract; Sh1.6 million for unremitted pension and other claims totalling Sh41 million.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court gave the hospital and the high ranking worker 21 days to respond to the suit. 

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