• Kyodo

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Patients are responsible for the majority of the 33 percent of hospital employees who claim to have been sexually harassed, according to a survey released Thursday by an organization of hospital managers.

The survey, conducted last fall on 882 people from 20 hospitals in the Kanto region, shows that workers were most often harassed by patients, followed by doctors, fellow workers, and lastly, their superiors.

Female employees are frequently touched by patients as they are take their temperatures, while harassment by doctors and superiors mainly takes the form of questions about marriage and having children, the survey says.

The survey will officially be made public today at the start of a meeting in Fukuoka of the All Japan Hospital Association.

In the cases involving fellow workers, doctors and other nurses, the perpetrators used their positions to take advantage of the victims, which resulted in requests for different shifts and occasional resignations.

The survey shows, however, that sexual harassment by fellow workers can be partially prevented through consultations and work regulations.

“The most problematic cases concern elderly patients. These people most likely do it for fun, oblivious to the fact that it is a form of sexual harassment,” an association member said.

Lawyer Ikuko Tsujimoto said that under the law, employers have a duty to protect employees from harassment.

“Even if the perpetrator is a patient, for the hospital personnel it is still sexual harassment,” said the Fukuoka-based lawyer, who is an expert on this issue.

Professor dismissed

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) A panel of Hiroshima City University professors decided Thursday to fire a 63-year-old professor for the alleged sexual harassment of a female student in 1998, an allegation he has denied as “groundless.”

The university said its 50-member panel decided by an overwhelming majority to fire the professor, who belongs to the Faculty of International Studies.

The university alleges that the professor sexually harassed the student in the summer of 1998 by having her sit on his lap at his house, school officials said.

The university will formally decide the professor’s fate by convening a meeting of its council, made up of the president and heads of faculties, the school officials said.

The university also said the professor received 100,000 yen in research fees for the salary of a part-time assistant without hiring anyone. The professor has also denied this allegation.

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