Former UCLA doctor awarded $13 million in gender discrimination and retaliation case

Doctor faced reprisals from employer after complaining of harassment by colleague
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 02/22/2018

LOS ANGELES (PRNewswire) -- A California jury awarded a $13 million verdict for Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown against her former employer, The Regents of the University of California. The lawsuit alleged that the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) discriminated against Dr. Pinter-Brown on the basis of gender and retaliated against her for complaining of discrimination and harassment, ultimately leading to her resignation. 

Dr. Pinter-Brown began working at UCLA Medical Center in 2005 as the director of the UCLA lymphoma program. Throughout her entire tenure at UCLA, she consistently received exemplary peer reviews, awards, and accolades. Until 2013, she was one of only two senior female faculty members in the program.

After she began raising concerns of harassment by a male colleague, she was targeted in various audits, had her research privileges suspended, had her title stricken, and her reputation permanently harmed. Even after filing verbal and written complaints, UCLA made no significant efforts to remedy the situation. She was forced to "play dead" at work to avoid additional confrontation before ultimately resigning her employment.

On Feb. 15, a Los Angeles jury found in favor of her claims of gender discrimination and gender retaliation, awarding Dr. Pinter-Brown $3,011,671 in loss of earnings against UCLA and an additional $10,000,000 in damages for emotional distress, for a total verdict of $13,011,671.

"Dr. Pinter-Brown was an outstanding employee and doctor during her entire tenure at UCLA," said Carney Shegerian, Dr. Pinter-Brown's trial lawyer. "She was clearly retaliated against due to her gender and for speaking out against harassment by a male colleague and morally treated wrong by her employer and superiors. A California jury of her peers vindicated her complaints. Hopefully, what appears to be an institution-wide problem of sweeping gender inequality under the rug can start to be fixed."

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