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An analysis recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that female doctors at some of the country’s most prominent public medical schools earn $20,000 less a year on average than their male colleagues. Researchers found that before they adjusted for factors that could influence income, the difference between the genders was over $51,000 a year.

Although there have been several studies done in the past that found a pay gap between male and female doctors, those studies relied on doctors reporting their own incomes, or focused on starting salaries or certain specialties or regions. This new study draws salary information from a larger, more objective sample.

The analysis included data on 10,000 physician faculty members at 24 medical schools. After adjusting for a variety of factors, the researchers found that female neurosurgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons made about $44,000 less than men in those fields. The average pay gap varied among specialties. The only specialty in which women were paid more is radiology – woman radiologists make roughly $2,000 more than male radiologists.

Experts say the biggest surprise in the study is that there were some medical schools in which pay did not appear to be an issue. However, at others the pay gap was over $50,000. Researchers say the pay gap could be partly due to the complicated and individualized nature of academic salaries in addition to a lack of transparency. In the very worst cases, the pay gap exists because of a clear case of discrimination by department chairs that are setting salaries. However, some less egregious reasons the pay gap could exist is that male physicians may be more aggressive in negotiating salaries and obtaining outside salary offers.

Even though it’s 2016, sexual discrimination still occurs regularly in the workplace. Sex discrimination involves treating employees differently in their employment specifically because they are a woman or a man. Sex discrimination is illegal under federal and state law. Some examples of sex discrimination include not being hired because you are a woman or being laid off or passed up for a promotion because you are a woman, or being paid less because you are a woman.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based on sex. There are also state laws that outlaw sex discrimination at work – in California, the law is the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The law also outlaws discrimination based on pregnancy, and considers pregnancy as a temporary disability. Employers must give pregnant employees the same treatment and benefits that they give to employees with other temporary disabilities.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that it’s unfortunate that in 2016, women are still earning less than their male counterparts in many fields. Employees should be valued based on their experience and contributions to the workplace rather than their gender. If employees are discriminated against based on their gender, that is illegal and the employee can pursue a legal case against the employer based on discrimination.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work based on your gender, call the Oakland-San Francisco employment discrimination attorneys at Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. We can help. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, unpaid benefits, and emotional distress. We work with clients throughout the San Francisco Bay area, including Hayward, Tracy, Fairfield, Berkeley, San Jose, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas. Call us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.

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