Gender discrimination can occur in all industries, at all education levels and all income tiers. Recently, a trio of female physicians in North Carolina filed a gender discrimination lawsuit alleging the male doctors within their health system were paid substantially more than them, despite comparative levels of education, experience and expertise.
Also sometimes referred to as “sex-based discrimination,” it occurs when an employee is treated differently due to their gender. Title VII prohibits discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment – including hiring, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, firings and fringe benefits. Whether directed at male or female employees, it’s illegal when it has a negative impact on a person’s employment and it’s not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business.
The North Carolina case involves three female doctor plaintiffs who allege their male counterparts are paid substantially more money for doing the exact same work.
The hospital system, perhaps unsurprisingly, has issued a statement saying it found no validity to the claims, but offered no further comment.
Plaintiffs allege the company systematically engages in a pattern or practice of paying female doctors far less money than male doctors who are even less qualified and less experienced.
The complaint did not specify how much the alleged pay gap is, but an employment attorney representing the female doctors say it is significant to the point all three plaintiffs intend to end their employment with the health system. These salary differences are solely based on gender considerations, and as their lawyer noted, it can add up to a significant amount over a period of time.
All three complainants are pediatricians, two who have worked for the system for 26 years and another who has worked with the health care system for more than a decade. Each have noted the years of experience they have in excess of their male counterparts and even subordinates, who are each paid more.
This situation is not isolated to this health system or even this state. A survey earlier this year by MedScape found male doctors are routinely paid more than female doctors. While female doctors on average earned about $197,000 a year, male doctors on average earn about $229,000.
This is not even a scenario unique to physicians. In the entire medical industry, men tend to make more than women. This is even as some studies have found patient outcomes may be better with female doctors.
While some skeptics of gender discrimination claims may claim simply that females are less assertive in asking for better pay than their male counterparts, plaintiffs in this case say there is no justifiable basis to pay them less than their male counterparts. In addition to the pay disparity, plaintiffs say they were made to work less favorable shifts than the male doctors. Plaintiffs say they complained repeatedly to their superiors, and explained why the practices were unlawful. Still, nothing changed.
Plaintiffs plan not to renew their contracts with the system after they expire at the end of the year.
If you are discriminated against at work on the basis of your gender, let us help you consider your legal options.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Female doctors sue CHS, say male physician paid ‘substantially more’ for same work, Sept. 11, 2017, By Cassie Cope and Maria David, The Charlotte Observer
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