SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A Shreveport doctor who filed a complaint against the LSU Health Sciences Center medical school chancellor has been placed on administrative leave.
According to Shreveport employment and civil rights attorney Attorney Allison Jones, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Jennifer Woerner, who filed EEOC complaints and called for the removal of Dr. G.E. Ghali, has been placed on leave after formal complaints were filed against her.
Dr. Woerner is one of four doctors who claimed under the supervision of Dr. Ghali, they were continually exposed to an environment of discrimination, hostility, and retaliation, based solely on gender.
Jones, who is representing Woerner and three other EEOC complainants said, “After our press conference last week, where my clients and I spoke out about the egregiously sexist, and unjust working conditions perpetrated by Dr. Ghali, unnamed medical residents made dubious complaints against my client, Dr. Jennifer Woerner. She is being unfairly targeted in a malicious and retaliatory move that we believe was orchestrated by Dr. Ghali because of her brave involvement in the protected activity of whistleblowing and opposing discrimination both for herself and for protected learners.”
The timing of these complaints against Woerner is being called into question by Jones and her team because they came so quickly on the heels of Woerner’s testimony against Ghali.
Jones said, “The temporal proximity of these complaints raises a high level of concern that there was a retaliatory intent, and we are calling on the school to do the right thing and protect Dr. Woerner and all of my clients from retaliation and, further to protect the learners from being unduly influenced by an administrator who continues to be under investigation, but is allowed to still teach protected learners.”
Despite being placed on administrative leave as Chancellor, Ghali still has direct access to medical students, residents, and other learners through clinical rotations and hospital work. This access allows him to influence residents to file complaints against other doctors, such as Woerner, who have filed complaints against him.
Many believe it is not in the best interests of the susceptible groups of female students that they continue to be allowed to be taught by Ghali.
Jones wants LSU and its leadership need to immediately intervene.
Jones said, “We are calling on the LSU System to do the right thing and immediately remove Dr. Ghali from his active positions with students, residents, and fellows, as his continued presence creates a coercive and pernicious
influence on everyone, especially protected learners. The learners are being unfairly subjected to the power differential he possesses to impact their academic progression and future careers.”
Another EEOC complainant, Dean of the School of Allied Health Professions Dr. Sharon Dunn said she and others continue to work in a stressful and uncertain environment and that they, too, fear retaliation.
Dr. Dunn said, “We have all seen tremendous support and encouragement from colleagues and students across the institution, but there is still an environment of fear right now. We have been warned by colleagues that they are concerned about possible schemes being contrived against us, as well.”
The school hasn’t made a decision regarding the investigation into Ghali, who remains on administrative leave, with compensation, but only from his duties as Chancellor.
Jones added, “The LSU system failed these women who have courageously called out discrimination, and it continues to do so. I will do all within my power to help protect these women from further discrimination and retaliation. If the school does not act to correct these failings, it will not be a safe place for women to learn or work. No whistle-blower, truth teller, or justice seeker should have to live in fear of malicious retaliation and malignment.”