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Wash. hospital settles with lesbian former employee

Wash. hospital settles with lesbian former employee

A Pullman, Wash., hospital and physician have agreed to pay a former employee $75,000 to settle claims that she was harassed and illegally fired because she is a lesbian. Mary Jo Davis initially sued Pullman Memorial Hospital and Charles Guess, MD, in 1996, alleging she and a former supervisor had been wrongfully terminated in 1994 because of antigay bias. In July 2002 a three-judge state appeals panel reversed a lower court's summary dismissal of Davis's case, sending it back to Whitman County for trial to resolve a dispute over the reason for her firing. Davis contended that she was fired from her job as an ultrasound technician because of her sexual orientation. The hospital countered that she was fired because she violated patient privacy policies and was disruptive. Davis, who has now moved to another state, issued a statement Wednesday through the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented her. "Employees should be judged on their work, not on their sexual orientation," she said. "While the money doesn't make up for the indignities I suffered from Dr. Guess and other hospital administrators, it's comforting to know that by standing up for what's right, I have made it easier for other people facing antigay discrimination in the workplace."

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