Hershey Med settles with fired cancer surgeon

The Penn State Hershey Medical Center has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that a cancer surgeon was fired in retaliation for defending the rights of his secretary, who was fighting breast cancer. Hershey Med claimed he was fired for his unprofessional and abusive behavior toward administrators and colleagues.

The truth may never be fully told because the parties agreed to a confidential settlement that was approved by a federal judge.

The surgeon alleged Hershey Med’s actions violated the FMLA, the ADA and the Penn­­syl­­vania Human Relations Act (PHRA). The hospital admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

Note: Courts often focus more on the subject matter of disagreements rather than the tact (or lack thereof) involved in expressing them. Workers who complain about workplace conditions enjoy a number of legal protections under federal and state law. Make sure characterizations such as “unprofessional” or even “abusive” aren’t code words for whistle-blower.