Joseph Morris, the executive director of California’s Board of Registered Nursing, has resigned following complaints of sexual harassment against him from women who worked with him. Morris headed the board that regulates and licenses nurses in the state.
Allegations against Morris
Employees of the nursing regulator recently said at a public meeting that Morris made inappropriate glances and comments against female workers at the agency. The women complained that the conduct of Morris interfered with their ability to perform their jobs.
A written testimony from Lashonda Shannon, a nursing citation analyst, questioned how women are supposed to work when they are afraid to be present with the executive officer behind closed doors.
Shannon asked at the public meeting last month: “How do we expect a woman to feel comfortable delivering a presentation regarding the needs of the unit when the executive officer is undressing her with his eyes and licking his lips as he says lewd comments?”
She further said that women employees had come forward after they became increasingly frustrated that their complaints were not being heard. No internal action was taken to address their complaints of sexual harassment.
Shannon said the women came forward after they grew frustrated that nothing was being done internally to address the harassment and what they view as mismanagement.
The Department Confirms Resignation of Morris
While Morris has not responded to the allegations as yet, the Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the Board of Registered Nursing, has confirmed that Morris has resigned. His last year’s salary was about $148,000 as per the state records.
In recent years, the Board has struggled to license new nurses, according to the state budget documents. The group of employees who pressed for the removal of Morris sent at least one anonymous email to the Board providing details of their complaints.
They also created an online group on Facebook called “Standing Together for Change.” The victims have posted their complaints and updates on this group.
Preventing Sexual Harassment in Healthcare
Healthcare worker advocates say that sexual harassment in the healthcare sector is a serious issue, and the onus is on the organizational leaders to act. With the kind of public attention that this problem has been getting, it becomes even more urgent for executives leading healthcare organizations to take committed action to prevent sexual harassment of medical workers.
Prevention, identification, and remediation are the three vital components of a successful strategy to fight against sexual harassment in healthcare in California. Surveyors and regulators should act in public interest and pay more attention to what is being reported in the media and what are the trends showing.
Speak to a Skilled California Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment in California, you should be prepared to speak up and fight for your legal rights as soon as possible. Makarem & Associates has some of the most competent and experienced sexual harassment lawyers in California who will provide you the right legal advice and support. Call Makarem & Associates at 310-312-0299 or email at [email protected] today.