September 26, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – A highly-regarded, award winning children’s psychiatrist has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming the staff at USC Keck School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles forced him out of his job after a serious medical condition caused him to take time off work.
Dr. Alan Hanft earned extremely high marks on all of his reviews over his 30-year career, won teacher of the year at UC Irvine Medical School and was highly regarded by the patients he treated while working for USC and CHLA. However, after a chronic illness caused him to take time off of work for the first time in his career, his immediate supervisor at USC began mistreating and harassing him. Making matters worse, the woman he reported to, Dr. Susan Turkel, clearly violated his privacy rights under HIPAA law and demanded to know his illnesses, a line no doctor should ever cross.
In spite of a long history of very high marks in his yearly reviews and being a public speaker at conventions where he discussed his work and how best to treat patients, Dr. Turkel wrote a scathing, inflammatory memo where false accusations were used as a pretense to try to end his employment. While review after review by Dr. Turkel praises Dr. Hanft’s skill with patients and knowledge of his area of medicine, the memo suggests the exact opposite.
“The last group of people who should be violating HIPAA laws are doctors and the last people who should be prejudiced by someone’s illness should, again, be doctors,” said Mr. Hanft’s attorney John Winer. “My client did not choose this illness and he worked tirelessly to treat his patients in spite of it. However, USC and CHLA chose to mistreat, belittle, harass and ultimately force him to leave in direct opposition to state law.”
Dr. Hanft is a triple-board-certified psychologist (most psychologists are simply board certified) who has spoken regularly at many conferences on psychiatry, has trained residents for decades and was the Residency Training Director during his time at UC Davis.
The lawsuit, Alan Hanft, M.D. v. University of Southern California, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Susan Turkel, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC723241, accuses the defendants of disability discrimination, retaliation, harassment, failure to prevent harassment, defamation, and more.
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