·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

WhidbeyHealth Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit for $1.5M

— August 15, 2019

WhidbeyHealth settled an age discrimination lawsuit for $1.5, though has yet to admit any wrongdoing.

WhidbeyHealth recently agreed to settle an age discrimination lawsuit for $1.5 million. The lawsuit was originally filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court on March 30 by Dr. James Elbaor or Texas. According to the suit, “hospital administrators denied his application to work for the hospital as an orthopedic surgeon because of his age,” even though there are federal laws in place that forbids “discrimination against people who are age 40 and over.”

Letters spelling 'Justice'
Letters spelling ‘Justice’; image courtesy of CQF-avocat via Pixabay,

The discrimination occurred when Elbaor was recommended by former physician recruiter, Preston Moore, for a position. However, hospital officials ended up passing on the doctor. When Moore contacted Elbaor with the news, he told “him that it was a case of age discrimination.” In fact, in an affidavit, Moore wrote that he was “told by the director of practice management and a business manager of the orthopedic surgeons’ office that they were trying to get rid of two older surgeons and replace them with younger ones.”

When news of the affidavit broke, both the business manager and director denied making the remarks. Additionally, during the litigation process an attorney for the hospital noted that “Moore left the hospital after officials discovered he had given a fake Social Security number and lied about his criminal history in his application; also, he provided false information about Elbaor.” The attorney also argued that “age was not a factor in the decision to forego hiring Elbaor,” and added that “hospital officials continued the process of considering Elbaor for the position after they knew he was in his 70s.”

Instead of age, officials at the hospital said a number of “red flags and Elbaor’s perceived inability to get privileges at the hospital were the reasons he was turned down.” When the hospital was considering him for a position, they learned he had a “sanction on his medical license, lost a large malpractice lawsuit, was disciplined at one hospital and placed on probation at another one.

Gregory Albert, Elbaor’s attorney, pushed back against the claims and said the “red flags were inaccurate.” For example, the verdict in the malpractice suit was eventually overturned by the Texas Supreme Court. During the litigation process, Elbaor also defended his experience and record by claiming he was highly qualified for the position. During his career, he “served as a captain in the U.S Army Reserve Corps and was the commanding officer of an Army Reserve medical attachment.”

Despite the settlement, WhidbeyHealth officials were not required to admit any fault. Instead, the hospital issued the following statement:

WhidbeyHealth vigorously denied, and continues to deny, engaging in any wrongdoing related to Dr. Elbaor or his attorney. These lawsuits were settled for business and practical reasons given the risks and burdens inherent in any litigation.”


WhidbeyHealth to pay $1.5 million in age discrimination case

Washington hospital pays $1.5M to settle age discrimination lawsuit

Join the conversation!