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Lawsuits & Litigation

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Hit with Another Discrimination Lawsuit

— May 6, 2019

Dr. Elena Pop recently filed a federal lawsuit against Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center over discrimination allegations.

Have you ever been discriminated against at your job? Unfortunately, it happens in every industry, including the medical industry. Recently, a federal lawsuit was filed against Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center over allegations that Dr. Elena Pop was discriminated against. In addition to being a doctor, Pop is also the mother of twins. In the suit, she claims her “former bosses at Roswell of fostered a culture of discrimination against women.”

Pop’s suit is the fifth discrimination complaint filed against Roswell in recent years. She argues the hospital “ignored her internal complaints about discrimination and did nothing when her supervisors retaliated against her.” What happened, though? What kind of discrimination did Pop face?

Legal gavel
Legal gavel; image courtesy of succo via Pixabay,

According to the suit, Pop claims she was eventually fired because her supervisors worried she would not be able to balance the demands of her career and motherhood. After returning to work from maternity leave, Pop argues her supervisors “humiliated and intimidated her as part of a campaign to demote and eventually fire her.” Michael J. Willemin, one of the lawyers representing Pop, said she told her supervisors she didn’t want to be demoted and repeatedly told them she was still capable of doing her job. In response, her supervisors allegedly told her to “go home and talk to her husband.”

As a result of her treatment, Pop claims in her suit that she suffered emotionally and professionally and is now seeking unspecified damages.

In response to the suit, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, said:

“It is a core value of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to embrace and promote diversity in our workplace and in our relationships in our community.”

Additionally, the cancer center also noted its “diverse and inclusive workforce and its role as the only Western New York business on the Forbes 2019 list of ‘Best Employers For Diversity.’”

That ‘diverse and inclusive’ work environment hasn’t prevented the cancer center from being the center of many discrimination suits over the years. Willemin said, “There’s a culture of discrimination and a culture of apathy toward discrimination.” For example, back in April 2017, Willemin represented Dr. Willie Underwood, a urologist who sued Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for race discrimination. According to that particular suit, Underwood argued he was “paid less than a white counterpart with less experience, given fewer opportunities for advancement and forced to work in an environment rife with discrimination.”

Prior to Underwood’s case, two other Roswell employees sued the cancer center for race discrimination, including Xantipple Conerly and Terry Kearney.

A few months before Underwood filed his complaint, two other employees also sued Roswell for race discrimination. Another similar suit was filed earlier this year by an African American doctor, Dr. Primus I. Mbawuike. According to that suit, Mbawuike was allegedly told to “go back to Africa” and was eventually fired.


Doctor, and mother of twins, sues Roswell Park for discrimination

Two employees allege racial discrimination in lawsuits against Roswell Park

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