In two separate lawsuits filed in federal court, Beranbaum Menken LLP is representing women who were systematically underpaid and discriminated against because of their gender. In one case, Laurie Spina, M.D. v. Downtown Bronx Medical Assoc., P.C., Dr. Spina, an anesthesiologist working at Lincoln Hospital, sued her employer for paying her and other female anesthesiologists less than male anesthesiologists although they performed the same or similar work. Dr. Spina, as well as other female anesthesiologists, also experienced a sexually hostile workplace at the hospital. As an example, the department chair and at least one other male doctor routinely called them "bitches," and a number of the male anesthesiologists made a point of not referring to their female counterparts as "doctor," only as "Ma'am." The females were passed over for prestigious committees and as "team leaders" in favor of more junior, less experienced male doctors. When Dr. Spina complained about the discrimination, the department brought disciplinary charges against her for bogus reasons, and the chair pressured her to quit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that Dr. Spina was discriminated against because of her gender and subjected to a hostile environment. After we filed the lawsuit, the defendant, represented by the City of New York, brought a motion to dismiss the complaint. The U.S. District Court, however, denied the motion in its entirety and Dr. Spina is vigorously pursuing the litigation.
In the other case, Lorraine Porter-Bell v. Port Authority of NY & NJ, Ms. Porter-Bell worked for the Port Authority for 31 years. She retired in 2010 holding the position of Senior Project Manager in the Port Authority's Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department. Ms. Porter-Bell quit soon after learning the extent of the pay inequity to which the Port Authority was subjecting her: In 2010, the Port Authority employed 47 Senior Project Managers doing the same kind of work as Ms. Porter-Bell. Of the 47 Senior Project Managers, 39 were male. And of the 39 male Senior Project Managers, 38, or all but one, were paid more than Ms. Porter-Bell -- some of them as much as 30% more. The Port Authority, like the defendant in Dr. Spina's case, sought to have the case dismissed. But the firm was successful in opposing the motion to dismiss, and the litigation continues.