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EPLI: Study Shows Female Physicians Face Widespread Workplace Discrimination

Chris Murray
Posted on: May 18, 2017 by Chris Murray

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) released the findings of a recent study of female physicians and physician mothers from online group, Physicians Moms Group. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, was based on 5,782 survey responses, and found that 77.9% of female physicians and physician mothers experience some type of workplace discrimination based on gender and maternal status. The Physicians Moms Group has 60,000 female physicians.

In addition, 66.3% of the respondents reported gender discrimination and 35.8% reported maternal discrimination, with 89.6% based on pregnancy and maternity leave and 48.4% based on breastfeeding.

Workplace discrimination exists despite the significant increase in the number of female physicians, the majority of whom are mothers. The findings, according to the researchers, suggest that gender-based discrimination remains common in medicine, and that discrimination specifically based on motherhood is an important reason.

Maternal discrimination was also linked with higher self-reported burnout, says the report. The most common reported types of discrimination were disrespectful treatment by nursing or support staff, not being included in administrative decision-making, and pay and benefits not equal to their male counterparts.

Female physicians who reported maternal discrimination placed higher value on workplace changes that created longer paid maternity leave, backup child care and support for breastfeeding mothers than women who did not report discrimination.

“To promote gender equity and retain high-quality physicians, employers should implement policies that reduce maternal discrimination and support gender equity such as longer paid maternity leave, backup child care, lactation support and increased schedule flexibility,” the researchers wrote.

Health care organizations need to take a close look at their employment practices to ensure that workplace discrimination is not taking place, beginning with their hiring policies, salary levels and benefits. In addition, reviewing the organization’s insurance program, which should include Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), is critical. EPLI insurance will respond in the event of allegations against employers involving discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and other employee-related practices.

At Caitlin Morgan we offer comprehensive insurance solutions to health care organizations, including EPLI and D&O insurance, providing a safety net to these businesses in the event of litigation that can significantly impact their bottom line. For more information about our programs, give us a call at  877.226.1027.

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Posted in: blog Directors & Officers Employment Practices Liability Insurance Healthcare Healthcare Facilities