SLU MD Graduate Dismissed, Denied Promised Promotion for Reporting Racism at Jefferson Barracks VA

Law Firm Newswire



Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 18, 2015 – According to a statement of complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Dr. Jane Doe’s career was promising and there was a lot to look forward to for the future, until Doe ran afoul of Dr. Muhammad Atthar Naeem and Dr. Robert M. Heaney for reporting alleged racism.

This case appears to be unique in that it bears witness to alleged racism, discrimination, sexual harassment and administrative actions that prompted Dr. Doe to blow the whistle and reveal the full extent of the story.

This story, as told by Doe, is not just about racism and harassment at an inpatient VA psychiatric facility. It is about alleged harassment and racism on a university campus, a state of affairs trending across the nation. This is a story that demonstrates the trickle down theory; should faculty and university governors condone or ignore racism, it can trickle down to other campus locations and becomes an epidemic. Nationwide campus riots tell the story in graphic demonstrations and confrontations.

Doe’s complaint reveals she started a Psychiatry Fellowship program appointed by St. Louis University School of Medicine to proceed at Jefferson Barracks VA, under the supervision of physician Dr. Muhammad Naeem. Naeem is a graduate of the St. Louis University School of Medicine, Psychiatry Residency program. Dr. Jothika Manapalli was his program director.

Doe opined she had expected to learn a great deal from Naeem, a psychiatrist with over 25-years of experience under his belt. “Doe allegedly heard Dr. Naeem refer to African American veterans seeking psychiatric care as being mostly drug seekers, and further referred to them as stupid Americans,” indicated Sacramento discrimination attorney and legal counsel of record for Dr. Doe, Deborah Barron.

In Doe’s complaint, she claims to have been advised by Dr. Naeem that African American nurses had very limited intellectual abilities and that Doe would need to make things simple for them to grasp. Discrimination allegedly took many forms and Doe also indicated in her complaint that she witnessed Dr. Naeem give honors grades to rotating foreign-born doctors and medical students from the St. Louis University School of Medicine, even if they did not report for work. Discrimination was not the only thing Doe said she witnessed.

Her complaint suggests that inappropriate sexual remarks were directed at her from Dr. Naeem and that she was asked frequently if she would introduce herself as his girlfriend because his wife did not care if he had a girlfriend on the side. She later discovered prior sexual harassment complaints were made against him during his residency under Dr. Manapalli at St. Louis University.

“The behavior apparently did not stop there,” added Barron. “When Dr. Doe allegedly suggested to Dr. Naeem that he was falsifying government medical records by saying he had seen patients he did not in fact see, Doe claims he replied he could do what he pleased and did not have to see his patients since they were in a controlled environment.”

The statement of claim further details that Doe was expecting a job promotion within two months and decided to report all incidents to her program director Dr. Jothika Manapalli. Dr. Manapalli did not follow University protocol and took it upon herself to call Dr. Naeem and his best friend to verify Doe’s claims. When Doe went to her vehicle later that day, she discovered four slashed tires. Doe says that program director Manapalli convinced her to not file a complaint with the police.

Doe outlined in her complaint that she then took her grievances to a higher entity at her place of employment, the Graduate Medical Education Director at St. Louis University School of Medicine, Dr. Robert Heaney. She wanted assurances that her promotion would not be rescinded and that other staff would be protected. Heaney allegedly assured her that the complaints would not affect her promotion and that she would be protected.

Doe was not promoted and intends to prove that Heaney approached and threatened her with dismissal that subsequently resulted in actual termination and being ostracized from the University. Doe says she filed a racism/sexual harassment/VA government fraud complaint with the Missouri U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) in August 2014. Mediation is still ongoing in 2015.

“If mediation efforts are unsuccessful, the EEOC will issue a right to sue notice and we will promptly file Doe’s complaint in U.S. District Court” says Dr. Doe’s attorney Deborah Barron.

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