Updated: June 29, 2021 05:39 PM
Created: June 29, 2021 05:31 PM
(ABC 6 News) - A former Mayo Clinic employee is suing the health care company, claiming Mayo fired her for falsely reporting a supervisor sexually assaulted her while on the job.
Yelena Ryabchuk was a housekeeper for Mayo Clinic and in October 2020, she claimed she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor at work.
She said she reported the incident to the police and Mayo supervisors. Mayo said it conducted its own investigation of the incident. Mayo claimed her allegations were false and she was not fired over the accusations.
Here is Mayo Clinic's full statement:
"Mayo Clinic is not in a position to comment on specifics related to Ms. Ryabchuk’s recently commenced lawsuit. Mayo terminated Ms. Ryabchuk’s employment in accordance with Mayo Clinic’s workplace policies and the law, and following a thorough internal investigation. Mayo Clinic denies Ms. Ryabchuk’s allegations and will defend itself vigorously in court.
Reports of misconduct are promptly investigated by Mayo Clinic. If a report is found to have merit, Mayo Clinic initiates corrective action, according to policy, in which the accused is held accountable. In this instance, the evidence did not support Ms. Ryabchuk's claims. Ms. Ryabchuk’s termination was in no way retaliatory.
Mayo Clinic values its employees and regards workplace safety as a top priority. Mayo Clinic is an equal opportunity employer that prohibits discrimination and retaliation. Mayo is dedicated to providing a workplace free from harassment based on sex and all other protected categories. Mayo Clinic does not, under any circumstances, tolerate retaliation."
The law firm representing Ryabchuk, Halunen Law, claimed the firing was a clear violation of her rights.
"Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, it's illegal to retaliate against someone for reporting a sexual assault and we're alleging that's exactly what Mayo did here," Halunen Law Attorney Emma Denny said.
Mayo Clinic said they are prepared to fight vigorously in court. Ryabchuk's attorneys said so are they.
"She believes this is something that should not happen to anyone else in the future and she wants to not only achieve justice for herself but for other women who are victims of sexual assault in the workplace who come after her," Denny said.
Ryabchuk's lawyers said the next phase of this lawsuit is what's called 'discovery' where both sides try to obtain as much information as possible from everyone involved.
"After discovery, comes a trial where Ryabchuk is hoping Mayo will have to compensate her financially for the alleged violation of her rights, according to her lawyers."
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