Sask. nurse accused of sexually harassing co-workers faces disciplinary hearing

A registered nurse in Saskatchewan says he will fight allegations of sexual harassment at a disciplinary hearing being held by his profession's regulatory body, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association.

Marlon Gonzales says accusations untrue, comments taken out of context

Registered nurse Marlon Gonzales says he will fight the sexual harassment allegations against him. (Shutterstock)

A registered nurse in Saskatchewan says he will fight allegations of sexual harassment at a disciplinary hearing being held by his profession's regulatory body, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association.

Marlon Gonzales said the incidents described by as many as six of his former co-workers at a long-term care home in Balcarres last year either did not happen or were taken out of context. 

The women allege he made repeated sexual comments, grabbed them from behind and kissed them without permission and when they said they were not interested, that Gonzales "would not accept no for an answer".

For instance, among the dozen incidents referenced in the report by the SRNA's investigation committee, are claims that Gonzales "engaged in conversations of a sexual nature" with one co-worker about the size of her breasts and another about parts of the vagina.

Remarks taken out of context

Gonzales said both of those conversations were taken out of context.

He said the breast talk came after a conversation about bra shopping with his wife and the conversation about vaginas was while treating a resident in the care home.

"We were talking about inserting a catheter at that moment," Gonzales said.

Gonzales is also alleged to have used the work phone list to obtain personal phone numbers to invite co-workers to his house, or ask to be invited to theirs. He said the only time he used the staff phone list to call co-workers at home, was for work. 

"I have to phone them if they would like to come in for an overtime or something, that's the time that I called them," Gonzales said.

Gonzales said he did ask one co-worker to come to his house, but he said she had previously invited him to socialize outside of work as well.

Gonzales said his wife knew about those invitations, as they were the only Filipino family in their small town and were trying to make new friends. 

He said he made no attempts to kiss his co-workers and never pushed his groin into one of them from behind, as described in the allegations.

Mango left on co-worker's windshield

Gonzales said another incident that was taken out of context was his leaving a mango on a colleague's windshield. He said he shared some of the fruit with his colleague the night before and when she enjoyed it, he brought a second mango the next night.

"I was looking for her and I couldn't find her so I just left it on the windshield and left a note so she would know where it came from," Gonzales said.

When asked why multiple women would make up stories about him, Gonzales said he does not know.

However, he said there were tensions in the workplace. As a registered nurse, Gonzales was in charge of the licensed practical nurses and care aides who worked in the unit.

Tensions in workplace

"The LPNs would say RNs are not needed in that building and stuff like that," Gonzales said.

Gonzales was fired by the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region on Dec. 17, 2015, after being suspended with pay while under investigation by his employer since early September.

He said the investigation was unfair and gave more time and weight to the complainants' versions of events than his explanations. 

Gonzales said he doesn't want his old job back — he is currently working in the northern health region of Keewatin Yatthé and enjoys his new job — but he does want to clear his name and maintain his professional credentials.

The SRNA will not comment on the specifics of a case that is still underway.

The disciplinary hearing which begins on Sept. 28 is open to the public.