Earlier this week, officials in New York City agreed to pay $20.8 million to settle allegations that the city “discriminated against city-employed registered nurses and midwives because they are women.”
Earlier this week, officials in New York City agreed to pay $20.8 million to settle allegations that the city “discriminated against city-employed registered nurses and midwives because they are women.” According to the allegations detailed out in a lawsuit filed a decade ago, New York City “did not recognize the physically taxing work of the predominantly female registered nurses and midwives, but it did recognize other predominantly male occupations, such as motor vehicle dispatcher, window cleaner, and plumbers, as physically taxing.” As a result, only predominantly male ‘physically taxing’ jobs “got to retire with full pensions as early as age 50, while the workers in the predominantly female jobs weren’t allowed to do so until age 55 or 57.”
In response to the unfair treatment, the New York State Nurses Association reached out to the city in 2004, “asking the city to give the same options for its members as those in the predominantly male occupations.” The association was denied three times. For those who don’t know, the New York State Nurses Association “represents city-employed registered nurses and midwives.”
The third time the city denied the associations request, the “union, and several nurses filed a formal charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination by the city.” In the end, the EEOC sided with the nurses and the New York State Nurses Association after it determined “the city had discriminated against the nurses when it failed to recognize registered nurse and midwife occupational titles as ‘physically taxing’ in 1968, and again when NYSNA made its requests in 2004, 2006 and 2008,” according to the Justice Department. The Justice Department took on the case soon after the EEOC sided with the nurses and union.
Under the settlement, an estimated 1,600 registered nurses and “hundreds of midwives hired by the city between Sept. 15, 1965, and March 31, 2012” will receive a portion of the settlement funds. The amount each nurse or midwife will receive will range between $1,000 and $99,000, depending “on how many years they worked and how much earlier they would have been eligible to retire.”
Additionally, New York City officials have also agreed to pay “attorney fees and an additional $100,000 to the four nurses who initiated the 2008 EEOC complaint.”
New York State Nurses Association praised the news of the settlement and one of its board members, Anne Bové, issued the following statement:
“The settlement is a victory for all nurses and a testament to the hard, physically demanding work that nurses do every day for those in need of care in the public hospitals. It is an acknowledgment of the injustice done to our sister and brother nurses who were denied recognition of the difficult nature of our work, all based on the discriminatory perception that nurses are mostly women and women’s work isn’t physically strenuous.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore also chimed in, saying:
“The settlement will provide significant relief to a class of female nurses and midwives employed by the City of New York who was harmed by the city’s discriminatory employment practices.”
New York to pay $20.8M to 1,600 city nurses in gender discrimination settlement
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