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IU Health anesthesiologist sues to get job back, claims gender discrimination

August 29, 2016

A top anesthesiologist in Indiana University Health’s organ transplant program says she lost her job after complaining about male supervisors who she claims subjected her to gender discrimination.

Now, Dr. Sandra Kinsella is suing to get her job back.

She filed a complaint earlier this month in Marion County Superior Court. It was transferred to U.S. District Court last week.

Kinsella said she worked at IU Health from 2012 to 2015, where she was director of anesthesia transplant.

During her employment, the complaint said, she was harassed by a male administrator who sent her texts with derogatory language, yelled at her “for no reason,” reassigned her cases and illegally deprived her of bonuses for two years.

Male supervisors also refused to support her research and “other advancement endeavors,” according to the lawsuit.

Kinsella said she complained to IU Health about the harassment. She was terminated “in direct retaliation” for her complaint, she said. She was discharged on Nov. 30, 2015, after IU Health did not renew her contract.

She said she was qualified for her position, performed her job adequately and met IU Health’s job expectations. Kinsella is immediate past president of the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists.

IU Health "strongly denies the allegations," spokesman Jeff Swiatek wrote in an email.

He added: "IU Health also denies that Kinsella was discharged from her position. In March 2015, Sandra Kinsella voluntarily submitted her resignation to IU Health, effective November 2015."

The suit accuses IU Health of knowingly and willfully discriminating against Kinsella on the basis of her gender, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She is seeking to be reinstated and given back pay, attorney fees, costs and other damages.

Kinsella is listed on the IU School of Medicine's website as an assistant professor of clinical anesthesia, focusing on abdominal organ transplantation.

The case was assigned to Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.

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