Manage Your Practice

Sexual Harassment is in the News. Make Sure Your Group’s or Facility’s Name Isn’t Included.

December 18, 2017

From Harvey Weinstein to Al Franken to, now, a well known physician at Fenway Community Health Center, the Boston institution known for its pioneering care for LGBT patients, allegations of sexual harassment and bullying are surfacing on what seems to be a daily basis.

Even if the allegations aren’t aimed at you, they pose significant challenges for your medical group, facility, or organization.

Take the Fenway Community Health Center situation, for example. Last week, the Boston Globe initially reported that the health center’s CEO, Dr. Stephen L. Boswell, resigned, after 20 years in the position, under pressure from the board of directors. Then, the paper reported that Fenway’s board chairman, Robert Hale, was out, too.

The events center around years of sexual harassment allegations against Dr. Harvey J. Makadon. Makadon had allegedly sexually harassed at least three male co-workers and had “yelled at and belittled” male and female staff members. Dr. Makadon denies the allegations. He’s said to have resigned from the facility.

The Globe uncovered the fact that Fenway engaged legal counsel twice over the last four years relating to allegations against Makadon. In connection with the second instance, the CEO apparently ignored the law firm’s advice to terminate Makadon and didn’t report the matter to the board. The Globe also reports that the CEO didn’t tell the board about a $75,000 settlement paid to a former employee in connection with the allegations.

What’s your entity’s policy on harassment? Does it have one?

What action do you take to investigate?

Who conducts the investigation?

What rights do both the accuser and the accused have?

What steps do you take if the allegations are found to be true?

An investigation gone bad, or bad decisions made during and after a proper investigation, have an impact far beyond that on the accuser and the alleged. The easiest way to keep your name and that of your organization out of the press is not to do things that would get it in there in the first place.

For help on policies, investigations, and staying out of the press, comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

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