A former ultrasound technician at Hudson Regional Hospital is alleging she was fired in June without cause less than a month after ending a sexual relationship with HRH President/CEO Dr. Nizar Kifaieh.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Filed in Hudson County Superior Court on Thursday, the eight-page, four-count lawsuit alleges that West New York resident Serafima Isachenko began working as an ultrasound technician at HRH in May 2021.
At that time, she was a pier diem employee, which became part time in November and then full time in January.
“Defendant Kifaieh met Plaintiff in October 2021, while Plaintiff was working in
her department. After seeing Plaintiff at a work-related event, Defendant Kifaieh began to text message Plaintiff and persisted in commencing a sexual relationship,” the suit claims.
“Defendant Kifaieh was very persistent and repeatedly insisted that Plaintiff come
to his office to engage in sex while she was at work. Defendant Kifaieh and Plaintiff engaged in a sexual relationship.”
The court filing further contends that Isachenko and Kifaieh engaged in sexual acts while on the premises of HRH, sometimes with the involvement of other female employees.
She eventually ended the relationship this past June, noting that she had wished to do so sooner but was afraid of the possible repercussions, the lawsuit contends.
“Soon after Plaintiff ended her sexual relationship with Defendant Kifaieh, Defendants retaliated against her. On June 30, 2022, Defendants terminated Plaintiff following an alleged incident involving an ultrasound,” her attorney, Thomas A. McKinney, of Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, wrote in the lawsuit.
“Because she had discontinued her sexual relationship with Defendant Kifaieh, Plaintiff, however, was treated differently than her co-workers.”
The suit also alleges that two other workers involved with the alleged ultrasound incident were punished with a warning and one-day suspension, respectively.
Through the court filing, Isachenko alleges she faced a hostile work environment due to her gender, gender discrimination, and retaliation, as well as accusing Kifaieh of aiding and abetting.
As a result, she is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs of suit, pre- and post-judgment interest, and all other relief that the court deems just and equitable.
In a statement, HRH said outside counsel has been hired to conduct a probe into the allegations made by Isachenko.
“Hudson Regional Hospital, the premier hospital providing comprehensive care to Hudson County, and Dr. Nizar Kifaieh have learned that a Complaint was filed against them by a former employee,” they began in a statement.
“We are disappointed that such action was taken as the Hospital is proud of its efforts to provide a nurturing, supportive and safe environment for our staff. The hospital has retained outside counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of the allegations.”