An employee at the MUHC is suing a doctor at the Montreal General Hospital for sexual harassment.
The woman, a respiratory therapist, said Dr. Richard Robinson has harassed her with sexually explicit texts, photos and unwanted touching over several years.
She said she tried to stop him but he continues to work there.
The employee said the harassment started in the operating room.
“Whenever the surgery would start and they would put up the sterile drapes everywhere and we're behind the monitors watching over the patient, I would not only have to worry about the patient's safety but my own wellbeing, because I'm there with this person who's making me feel horrible,” she told CTV.
In her suit, she alleges that over a period of two years, Robinson, an anesthesiologist, sent her sexually explicit texts and photos and made lewd suggestions in the workplace. He also offered her money for sex.
“I didn't even know who to talk to. I was afraid of being judged and I didn't know how this was going to be perceived. I didn't know what to do,” she said.
In 2014, she went to her supervisor. The court filing indicates Robinson was told by the hospital to stay away from her, but within months they were back in the OR together. The employee alleges the harassment continued.
Again, she said, she took her case to her superiors, to police and to her union.
She said they all let her down. The ordeal led her to be treated for depression.
The alleged harassment finally stopped when she hired lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard.
“Honestly, if I would have known everything I had to go through to this day – it's been years this has been going on, it's been years since I've tried to fight this in the system,” she said.
With photos, witnesses and over 200 texts, her case is solid, said Menard, adding that it shouldn't have made its way to his office.
“How can a victim of an abuse that is so obvious be obliged to hire a lawyer that is outside the whole system that is designed to protect her? To reach and get some results and to be protected? For me it's a failure, just the fact that she has to see us, it's a failure of the system,” he said.
The MUHC said it can't comment on pending or ongoing legal proceedings but spokesperson Gilda Salomone issued a statement on the centre’s behalf, saying:
‘The MUHC does not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace…As for Dr. Robinson, like most physicians, he is not an employee of and does not work for the MUHC. Dr. Robinson does hold privileges at the MUHC in Anesthesia and in Intensive Care and is currently exercising his activities only in the Intensive Care Unit at the Montreal General Hospital.’
The College des Medicins said Robinson is the subject of a disciplinary complaint and hearings will be scheduled soon.