Bullying, Censorship, and Baseless Lawsuit Threats: Dr. Leena Varughese

In 2015 I wrote a blog post about a Southern District of New York decision and order in a case captioned Varughese v. Mount Sinai Med. Ctr., No. 12-cv-8812 CM JCF, 2015 WL 1499618 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2015), which granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed with prejudice all of plaintiff Dr. Leena Varughese’s claims of employment discrimination and hostile work environment.

In her thorough and detailed decision, Judge McMahon wrote (inter alia):

On the evidence in the record, no reasonable juror could find Varughese to have overcome the overwhelming evidence that Defendants disciplined and terminated her, not because of her sex or her ethnicity, but because of her own admitted behavior-behavior that her employer found unprofessional and inappropriate. …

Throughout the final year of her residency, Varughese engaged in unacceptable workplace behavior. By her own admission, she yelled, she swore, she interrupted, she rolled her eyes, she was late, absent, and-in conversations she recorded and submitted to the Court-by turns confrontational and evasive. The very tape recordings she made-and the pacing and aggressive tone of voice they reveal-confirm the testimony of others about her attitude and her behavior.

Varughese, 2015 WL 1499618, at *56.

The plaintiff in the case, Dr. Leena Varughese, contacted me in December 2016 and asked me to remove the 2015 post. I politely declined.

As a plaintiffs’ lawyer, I sympathize with victims of discrimination, and am pleased to see and write about cases where a discrimination plaintiff wins – e.g., this one and this one – but the reality is that plaintiffs don’t always win.

All court decisions become part of “The Law;” even if reversed or vacated, they are still instructive as to (e.g.) how a particular judge analyzes legal issues and what authorities they find persuasive. The goal of this blog is to inform and to educate; limiting it to “winning plaintiff” cases runs the risk of undermining that goal.

In any event, thank you for reading.

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