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Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Accuses Hospital of Wrongful Termination, Retaliation

Discrimination on the basis of gender and various other factors violates federal and state employment laws in New Jersey. Employers may not take adverse actions against employees, ranging from shunning or isolating them to terminating them, based primarily on their gender or sex. They also may not retaliate against an employee for reporting concerns about gender discrimination in the workplace. A lawsuit filed in late 2021 alleges that a hospital discriminated against a doctor because of her gender and retaliated against her for opposing such practices. She alleges that the hospital eventually fired her for discriminatory and retaliatory reasons. If you feel you are the victim of retaliation or wrongful termination, contact a New Jersey employment lawyer to discuss your situation.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects employees and job seekers from discrimination based on numerous factors, including sex. It prohibits retaliation for opposing or complaining about allegedly unlawful practices. It also allows workers to bring civil claims for aiding and abetting violations. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects a smaller number of categories against discrimination, but the list includes sex. It also includes provisions barring retaliation.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit described above worked for a hospital affiliated with a major research university. According to her complaint, she entered into a two-year employment arrangement with the hospital as an Instructor in Surgery in December 2017. She describes her performance at the hospital as “stellar,” stating that she received “outstanding patient satisfaction scores” and various honors, including a Junior Faculty Award in 2019. She reportedly received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in early 2019 that would have covered half her salary and funded much of her research. She allegedly could not participate in the grant program, however, because of the “relentless sexism” of her supervisor.

The supervisor, according to the complaint, displayed “​​blatant favoritism toward [the plaintiff’s] male colleagues,” made “constant derogatory remarks based on her gender,” and “​​repeated[ly] attempt[ed] to undermine her ability to establish and maintain a practice at” the hospital. The plaintiff alleges that the supervisor retaliated against her for making multiple complaints about discriminatory behavior. She claims that this included falsely denigrating the quality of her work and denying her opportunities for professional advancement.

Eventually, the hospital declined to renew her contract towards the end of the two-year term. The plaintiff claims that the stated reasons for the termination of her employment were merely pretexts for the supervisor’s discriminatory intent. Hospital management allegedly dismissed or ignored her complaints. The hospital suspended her for what she says were false and pretextual reasons. The suspension occurred after a committee of hospital representatives allegedly “interrogated” her about a surgery on which she assisted at the request of a colleague. She claims that the committee baselessly suggested that she had had a sexual relationship with the colleague.

The plaintiff filed suit against the hospital, the university, and her supervisor in December 2021. She asserts seven causes of action, including claims for discrimination and retaliation under Title VII. The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, reinstatement in her previous position, and compensatory and punitive damages.

The Resnick Law Group’s team of employment attorneys represents workers in New Jersey and New York in claims for unlawful employment practices under federal and state law. If you have a dispute with an employer in New Jersey or New York, please contact us online, at 973-781-1204, or at 646-867-7997 today to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help.

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