Board of Registered Nursing’s Executive Officer Resigns Amidst Sexual Harassment Allegations

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By Shana Sobel

On February 14, 2020, the Executive Officer (EO) of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), Dr. Joseph Morris, officially resigned. Loretta Melby was sworn in as acting EO at the February 20, 2020 Board meeting.  The Sacramento Bee reported that the resignation occurred shortly after at least eight BRN employees sent a letter to BRN board members, claiming that Dr. Morris had sexually harassed female employees, and made racially discriminatory comments related to hiring practices within BRN. The Board held a meeting in closed session—apparently to discuss these complaints—on January 17, 2020.

At the February meeting, during open session, several BRN employees read aloud anonymous statements of the alleged victims, detailing accounts of their complaints, and claiming that the Board knew about the sexual harassment complaints, retaliated against those who formally complained, and attempted to cover up this information by holding a meeting to discuss it in closed session.  When the employees were making these statements during the public meeting, several Board members left the room without comment. At this writing, the Board has not publicly responded to these allegations.

At its March 17, 2020 Board meeting, the Board reviewed and finalized documents necessary to begin recruitment for a new Executive Officer. The Board officially released its recruitment announcement on March 20, 2020, and posted the application on its website.

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