Mon Health employee sues over alleged verbal abuse at work

MORGANTOWN — A medical administrative assistant at Mon Health Systems sued her employer and one of its former doctors, alleging emotional abuse.
Susan Yokopovich-Wasco alleges Dr. Faisal Bukeirat, formerly a gastroenterologist at Mon Health Medical Center, harassed her after she reported him for violating a patient safety requirement.
“Mon Health has yet to be served this particular lawsuit. In any case, Mon Health does not comment on ongoing litigation,” Spokesperson Emily Gallagher said this week. “I can confirm Dr. Bukeirat was employed by Mon Health from July 2010-July 2018.”
The suit, filed on Friday in Monongalia County Circuit Court, is the second in three months to be filed against Bukeirat and the hospital.
In July, a Monongalia County sheriff’s deputy filed a lawsuit alleging Bukeirat called him on his personal cell phone — obtained through medical records Bukeirat had no legitimate reason to access — after Bukeirat’s son received a ticket from the deputy.
Those allegations are denied by the hospital and the case is ongoing.
The latest suit seeks punitive damages, interest, attorney and litigation fees and other relief as deemed proper by the court.
According to the suit:
When Bukeirat was hired, he refused to get a flu shot — he could still see patients, but was required to cover his nose and mouth with a mask at all times while doing so. Bukeirat “rarely wore the mask” and Yokopovich-Wasco, acting within hospital policy, reported him to hospital administration.
Shortly after the report, Marsha Workman, office manager, knocked on Yokopovich-Wasco’s door, which she opened. Workman asked if Yokopovich-Wasco was the person who reported Bukeirat for not wearing a mask. Yokopovich-Wasco said she was.
Bukeirat, who was standing in the hallway during the conversation, “flew into a rage, and began screaming, cursing, and verbally abusing Susan,” according to the suit. He was so close to Yokopovich-Wasco that he was spitting on her while screaming.
Workman watched the incident, which mortified, embarrassed and emotionally disturbed Yokopovich-Wasco and was only the start of the alleged abuse, according to the suit. Bukeirat “systematically and repeatedly verbally and psychologically abused Susan” by screaming at her and chastising her in front of colleagues and patients.
Bukeirat also accused Yokopovich-Wasco of being racist.
Yokopovich-Wasco followed protocol and contacted human resources, hospital administration, and other officials for relief from Bukeirat’s abuse. Vice President Robert Milvet was among those Yokopovich-Wasco talked to about her concerns.
The hospital ordered Bukeirat to not contact Yokopovich-Wasco, but he ignored that restriction and it was quickly lifted with Yokopovich-Wasco being ordered by Workman to resume working for Bukeirat.
When Yokopovich-Wasco raised her concerns about working for him again, Workman said there was nothing she could do.
Other hospital employees witnessed and reported Bukeirat’s abuse of Yokopovich-Wasco, but were told to stay out of it, according to the suit.
Bukeirat was never disciplined for his abuse and harassment toward Yokopovich-Wasco and shortly after she hired a lawyer, Yokopovich-Wasco was transferred to another department where, as of the suit’s filing, she continues to work.

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