Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (4)7 Apr 96



   A CNA objected to her employer’s requirement that she provide special perineal care to a female seventy-one-year-old long-term nursing home resident with a urinary catheter. The aide’s objection was that this patient’s special routine for such care, which could take up to one-half hour, caused the resident to "move around and groan" and led the aide, and others who cared for this resident, to believe they were performing a sexual act upon the resident.

   For her complaints, the aide was given the choice of caring for the patient, per the usual procedure, or of leaving her employment. She chose to leave, but then filed suit for on-the-job sexual harassment.

   The United States District Court for the District of Kansas ruled in favor of the nursing home. The court stated that sexual harassment involves a male trying or succeeding at obtaining sex from a female employee as part of her job, or a male or males creating a sexually-hostile work environment for females. Some element of male vs. female gender discrimination is needed to support a sexual harassment lawsuit. Plakio vs. Congregational Home, Inc., 902 F. Supp. 1383 (D. Kan., 1995).