Doctor claims college wanted to fire her over Facebook posts


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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A new doctor in a University of Texas residency training program has sued the school, claiming she faced possible dismissal after complaining on Facebook about having to work 100 hours or more per week.

A judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order that halted this week's potential firing of 39-year-old Jenny Scoville Walsh, the Austin American-Statesman (http://atxne.ws/1UhIoyj ) reported. National rules limit residents to a maximum of 80 duty hours per week.

Walsh had accused the school of retaliation for her Facebook posts in which she complained about working long hours in hospitals, in clinics and at home, where she would work on charts and do other tasks. She's also suing Seton Healthcare Family, the Seton/UT-Austin Dell Medical School University Physicians Group and Dr. Charles Brown, director of the obstetrics/gynecology residency program in which Walsh was working.

A university lawyer told Travis County District Judge Lora Livingston that Walsh was put on probation and was being terminated for academic reasons only. Lawyers for the school and Seton declined to comment after Friday's court hearing.

Livingston said she wasn't convinced that UT acted inappropriately but wanted to give Walsh's lawyer additional time to prove whether Walsh has "a real claim" before officials could proceed. She said she would allow lawyers for parties in the lawsuit another opportunity to make their arguments at a temporary injunction hearing set for Sept. 9.

Walsh claims she was told before her Facebook posts that she was in good standing in the residency program, but that afterward, everything changed. Her lawsuit said she was told to retract the comments and did so.

Walsh said she wouldn't be able to get a job as a doctor if dismissed from the residency program.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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