The Times Up Legal Defense Fund Supports Former Nursing Student’s Lawsuit
In two lawsuits filed in federal and state courts this year, a woman says she was kicked out of nursing school at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG), one month before she was set to graduate, after she reported a supervisor for repeated sexual harassment. Her case is financially supported by the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a fund created to connect those with workplace sexual harassment and retaliation cases with legal counsel.
The woman at the center of the lawsuits is Autumn Davis, who enrolled in the UNCG’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist in August 2015. In the first lawsuit filed in July in federal court, Davis filed suit against the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the UNC Board of Governors, and the Raleigh School of Nurse Anesthesia (RSNA), alleging that she was sexually harassed while training at a hospital as a part of her education.
“She was an honors student at the time she was allegedly kicked out for unsafe nursing practices,” Nicholas Sanservino Jr., Davis’ attorney, told Supermajority News. While the lawsuit doesn’t name a specific amount of monetary damages, money isn’t the only remedy Davis is seeking. “There is a systemic problem, and that that needs to be corrected, not just for Autumn, but for current and future students.”
Davis’ allegations include claims that while doing her clinical training at WakeMed Raleigh, her male supervisor asked her to strip, made lewd comments about female patients under anesthesia, repeatedly asked for dates, and pushed his erect penis against her. For example, Davis said her supervisor said, “Man, the surgeon can take as long as he wants in this case, it’s a nice view. When I saw her tits, I mean, man.”
Davis alleges that she brought up the incidents to her supervisors, but to no avail. The lawsuit alleges a systemic denial of her opportunity to report the incidents.
A second lawsuit, filed in August, named Nancy Shedlick (Davis’ program administrator at UNCG) and Linda Stone (RSNA assistant program administrator) as defendants. Davis’ lawsuit alleges that both women acted “outside the scope of their respective employments with UNCG; and/or otherwise without any legal justification for their actions.” This state lawsuit adds that when Davis reported her supervisor’s conduct, specifically pushing his erect penis against her while she worked, she alleges that Stone asked her, “Are you sure you want to make this type of complaint?” Further, Davis alleged that both women attempted to intimidate her into withdrawing the complaint.
In August, UNCG gave a statement to WTVD, the ABC affiliate. “We are aware of the allegations made by this former student, but we cannot comment in detail on pending litigation. We are confident that the facts of this case will enable us to both reach an appropriate legal conclusion and ensure the ongoing integrity of our academic program — especially in life-saving disciplines.”
“She’s between a rock and a hard place,” her attorney, Sanservino, told Supermajority News.