Physician sues Witham Memorial Hospital, alleging violation of FMLA and Equal Pay Act

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A physician who was fired by Witham Memorial Hospital is suing her former employer, claiming she was illegally discriminated against after becoming ill as a result of dangerous conditions at her office.

Dr. Kimberly Gatzimos, an internal medicine physician, filed suit this month in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.

According to the complaint, Gatzimos was employed at the Lebanon-based hospital from 2000 until January 21, 2022, when she was terminated.

She said she had become ill with histoplasmosis, an infection caused by breathing in spores of fungus. As a result, she claims she suffered from night sweats, fatigue, new learning deficits, cognitive dysfunction, confusion, problems with balance resulting in falls, and difficulty in analyzing and prioritizing information.

The complaint did not say when the illness started, nor did it spell out the “dangerous conditions” in her office.

Gatzimos said the hospital refused to provide an accommodation for her and she said she is pursuing a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act. She said she will also file a charge of gender discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A spokeswoman for the hospital declined comment.

Gatzimos said she was paid substantially less than similarly situated male physicians, who were “provided greater assistance and other benefits” that were not provided to her.

For example, Gatzimos claimed she was “routinely criticized” for not promptly completing her patient charts. However, other male physicians were provided additional nursing staff that freed them up to perform this duty, when she was not, the complaint said.

Gatzimos said that after being terminated, she was ordered to immediately cease assisting her patients.

She is suing the hospital for violation of the Family Leave and Medical Act and in retaliation for seeking and receiving FMLA leave. The suit did not provide details about the length or circumstances of her leave.

She is also suing under the Equal Pay Act, which her complaint said makes it illegal for an employer to engage in pay discrimination between employees on the basis of sex. The suit did not provide details on the pay of any physicians at the hospital.

The case was assigned to Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.

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