Q: One of our patients is friendly and likes to hug when he leaves. On his recent visit,
he went in for a hug with our hygienist and instead groped her breasts. The staff
member was understandably upset by the interaction and asked to no longer see the
patient or interact with him. On a separate occasion, one of our associates was followed
by a senior dentist into the laboratory where he shut the door, startling the younger
dentist. Several crude and offensive comments were made as she stood motionless under
his towering stature. She was able to maneuver around him and quickly escape the room.
How should we handle instances like these with our team? What are our ethical obligations
to our dental team members?
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Sexual harassment in the workplace. National Conference of State Legislatures.
Measuring #MeToo: a national study on sexual harassment and assault. UC San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health, Stop Street Harassment. April 2019.
Coming forward: key trends and data from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. US Equal Opportunity Commission.
Ethnic/national origin. US Department of Labor.
American Dental Association principles of ethics and code of professional conduct, with official advisory opinions revised to 2020. American Dental Association.
Continuing education: sexual harrassment prevention. American Dental Association.
Dr. Depp is a part-time lecturer, School of Dentistry, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
Dr. Jonke is a partner and oral surgeon, Suffolk Oral Sugery, Stony Brook, NY.
Published online: February 23, 2023
In Press Corrected Proof
Disclosures. Drs. Depp and Jonke did not report any disclosures.
Ethical Moment is prepared by individual members of the American Dental Association Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA) or guests of CEBJA, in cooperation with The Journal of the American Dental Association. Its purpose is to promote awareness of the American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. Readers are invited to submit questions to CEBJA at 211 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Dental Association Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs or official policy of the ADA.
© 2023 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.
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