California Medical Board Revokes License of Psychiatrist Hamid Tabatabai for Sexual Harassment

September 16, 2021

On September 17, 2021, the Medical Board of California revoked the license of psychiatrist Hamid Tabatabai based on earlier disciplinary action taken against him by the state of Maryland.

On November 18, 2020, the Maryland State Board of Physicians issued an Order finding Tabatabai had committed sexual misconduct against two female staff under his supervision Child & Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Unit of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, of which he was the medical director. (He resigned in October 2019 in lieu of termination, after being suspended by the facility pending its investigation of sexual harassment complaints against him.)

The Maryland Board placed Tabatabai’s license on probation for a minimum of three years, including enrollment and compliance with a physician’s rehabilitation program, and a $1,000 fine, among other terms. 

The following, taken from the Maryland Board’s document, gives the specifics of what Tabatabai did:

Tabatabai worked at the Facility with Staff Person 1 ("Staff Person 1") from 1996 to 2019 and with Staff Person 2 ("Staff Person 2") from 2010 to 2019. Tabatabai was the medical director of the Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Unit (the "Unit") of the Facility and exercised authority over both Staff Person 1 and Staff Person 2. Staff Person 1 supervised Staff Person2. The offices of both Staff Person 1 and Staff Person 2 were located on the same floor as the Unit Tabatabai directed.

Neither Staff Person 1 nor Staff Person 2 was a physician. Tabatabai was aware that both Staff Person 1 and Staff Person 2 were married to individuals who did not work at the Facility.

Sexual Harassment of Facility Staff

The Board's investigation revealed that the Tabatabai sexually harassed Staff Person 1 and Staff Person 2, individuals over whom he exercised professional authority. Tabatabai's behavior included unwanted attention, comments on their physical appearance, inappropriate disclosures, nonconsensual touching, and improper remarks.

Staff Person 1

Tabatabai and Staff Person 1 interacted almost daily until the mid-2000's. In or around 2006, Staff Person 1 changed positions within the Unit resulting in less frequent weekly interactions with him. During the course of working together in the Unit of the Facility, Tabatabai commented on Staff Person 1's appearance and, complimented her on how she smelled.

Tabatabai stated to Staff Person 1 when she Wore blue clothing that it made het "very attractive" and "excited" him. Tabatabai asked Staff Person 1 why she never wore eye shadow and told her that he did not like her hair when she wore it straight. When commenting to Staff Person 1 about her appearance, Tabatabai would at times whisper, "I have to be quick so no one sees me." As a result of these statements, Staff Person 1 adjusted her hair style, makeup, and clothing to prevent his unwanted attention. Staff Person 1 also attempted to minimize contacts with the Respondent.

Approximately fifteen (15) years prior, Tabatabai disclosed to Staff Person 1 marital difficulties he was having. Shortly thereafter, he expressed romantic feelings to Staff Person 1 as well as his desire for her to leave her husband in order to be with him. During the course of working together in the Unit of the Facility, Tabatabai initiated unwanted physical contact with Staff Person 1 when she was alone in her office or when other staff were not present. Tabatabai regularly hugged and kissed Staff Person 1 without her permission, which made her uncomfortable and avoidant. He kissed Staff Person 1 on the cheek approximately three (3) to five (5) times per month. Tabatabai began to hug Staff Person 1 for longer periods of time and with increasing force over the course of their working together at the Facility.

In September of 2019, Tabatabai stated to Staff Person 1 that they should "consummate their "work marriage" when they were alone in her office with the door closed. After making this sexual overture, the Respondent approached Staff Person 1, hugged her placed his nose in her hair, smelled her hair, and kissed her atop the head.

On or about March 2, 2020, Board staff interviewed Tabatabai under oath in the presence of his counsel, and he acknowledged that he might have [kissed staff] on the cheek." He described his feelings for Staff Person 1, stating, “I think I had mentioned something about she and I liking each other a lot. Nothing happened between us. No sex, nothing physical. But the feelings were there and I think I mentioned to her that I go home and feel guilty towards my wife.”

Staff Person 2

Tabatabai worked in the Unit with Staff Person 2 nearly five days per week for approximately seven years between 2012 and 2019. During the course of working in the Unit together, Tabatabai periodically kissed Staff Person 2 on the cheek when greeting her and frequently commented on her appearance. Staff Person 2 asked the Respondent to refrain from discussing her appearance, yet he continued to make such comments on at least a weekly basis.

On a day that Staff Person 2 wore blue clothing to work, Tabatabai came to the door of her office and stated, "Wow, oh, wow" before walking away. On a separate occasion, he stated to Staff Person 2, "l am glad you don't get offended when we talk like this.” During another interaction, he stated to Staff Person 2 in the presence of Staff Person 1, "Look at the beautiful face that looks so tired."

In or around October of 2018, Tabatabai stated to Staff Person 2 that he was "in love" with her. He stated to Staff Person 2 that he could not stop thinking about her and that he was feeling like an "eighteen-year-old boy." In or around November of 2018, he apologized to Staff Person 2 for any discomfort his statements may have caused.

Staff Person 2 stated to Tabatabai that she could continue to work at the Facility if he never again talked about his feelings for her. In December 2018 or January 2019, Tabatabai learned that Staff Person 2 had discussed his statements with her spouse. When he asked Staff Person 2 what she had told her spouse, Staff Person 2 told him not to question her again about her marital communications. During the next ten months, he asked Staff Person 2 on multiple occasions about the private discussions she had about his statements and conduct.

In or around the spring of 2019, Tabatabai discussed a sexually intimate matter with Staff Person 2. In or around April of 2019, he expressed to Staff Person 2 his fantasy of rescuing her. He stated to Staff Person 2 that “my fantasy never involved talking you to the Sheraton."

On or about September 6, 2019, Tabatabai entered Staff Person 2's office, closed the door, and stated, “Tell me again what you told your husband I said to you." On or about September 12, 2019, Staff Person 2 submitted her resignation to Staff Person I, stating that Tabatabai's conduct towards her was a contributing factor in her resignation. Staff Person 2 told Staff Person 1 that Tabatabai made statements to her that made her uncomfortable. Staff Person 2 described his conduct to Staff Person 1, who reported the information to the Facility's Human Resources personnel. Upon learning from a Human Resources representative that Staff Person 2 had resigned, Tabatabai began crying and stated, "This is because of me."

The Facility initiated an investigation of the allegations. On or about September 27, 2019; the Facility suspended Tabatabai pending its investigation of the sexual harassment claims. On or about October 4, 2019, the Tabatabai voluntarily resigned in lieu of termination.

Source: Default Decision and Order in the matter of the Accusation Against Hamid Tabatabai, M.D., Case No. 800-2020-073474, Medical Board of California, Department of Consumer Affairs, Aug. 18, 2021.


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