Top CHOP Doc Forced to Resign Due to Pregnancy

photo credit: Left: Dr. Kaede Ota. (Photo via Temple University) Right: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kaede Ota was the director of the Clinical Microbiology Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine … until she had a baby.

The Queen Village resident has filed a federal lawsuit against CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania, alleging that she was the victim of sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination. announced her pregnancy and intention to go on maternity leave to her boss, CHOP pathologist-in-chief Robert Doms, in October 2014. She claims that he responded by giving her the silent treatment, and “stopped talking” to her for the entire month of January 2015. She was met with prolonged mocking and ridicule, and an increasingly hostile work environment.

A few weeks after her return to work, she received her annual review from Doms, who, according to the lawsuit, threatened her “faculty reappointment, fabricated evidence of unprofessional behavior, assailed her scholarship, and ignored published university criteria for evaluation.” The lawsuit states that Doms slashed her usual bonus and merit increase.

Ota filed a written complaint about the review, and the suit claims that Doms responded by demoting her — taking her pay from $215,000 to $67,000 — and then placing her on administrative leave. Later, she says, she was told that Doms was planning to recommend that she not be reappointed in her teaching role at Penn. (CHOP and Penn are very closely linked, and many CHOP docs have teaching jobs at the university.)

Ota claims that the administrative leave “caused irreparable damage” to her reputation “both locally and nationally”. She says that Doms had sent an email to her entire department stating that Ota no longer had any clinical role there and that she lost a large grant she had previously obtained. As a result of this treatment, Ota says she was forced to resign. She is now an associate professor at Temple University. 

To read the full article by Victor Fiorillo, visit Philadelphia Magazine.