Calif. jury awards $167M in sexual harassment suit

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A Northern California jury has awarded $167 million to a former hospital employee who claimed in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed at work and fired after she repeatedly complained.

The federal court jury found Sacramento's Mercy General Hospital and its parent, Catholic Healthcare West, liable on Wednesday for $125 million in punitive damages and $42.7 million in compensation for lost wages and mental anguish in the lawsuit filed by Ani Chopourian.

The 45-year-old Chopourian - a surgical physician's assistant - said she was subject to unwanted sexual advances and touching and sexual conversations among physicians and staff while working at Mercy from 2006 to 2008.

She alleged in her lawsuit against the hospital that she was fired for repeatedly complaining about sexual harassment.

Hospital officials say she was fired for misconduct, and they will appeal.

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