Health care workers in New Jersey must cope with demanding, high-stakes environments, and female physicians often must operate in workplaces hostile to their needs, especially if they have children. When university researchers reached out to the online Physicians Moms Group, they received responses from nearly 6,000 women in a variety of health care specialties and workplaces.
The levels of workplace discrimination expressed by the respondents surprised even those people who were aware of the problem. More than three-quarters of the women reported discrimination on the job, and 66 percent of them said the discrimination was gender based. Negative attitudes and treatment toward mothers who took maternity leave and breastfed their children affected 35 percent of the women.
Close to 39 percent of them said that coworkers treated them disrespectfully. They were excluded from decision-making processes, and their pay and benefits lagged behind those granted to male physicians. Other studies have shown that female physicians have lower salaries compared to men and that they tend to be ignored for promotions.
An employee experiencing discrimination at work might have difficulty proving the problem because access to coworkers’ salaries could be unavailable and the behavior of coworkers could go undocumented. Speaking with an attorney could inform the employee about how to file a complaint through internal channelsand begin an evidence trail. To prepare a lawsuit, an attorney might request payroll information and gather testimony from management and coworkers. Evidence of workplace discrimination based upon being a member of a protected class might enable the attorney to negotiate a settlement for appropriate compensation.