An Indian American former radiologist at the Massachusetts-based Marlboro Hospital has filed a lawsuit against the University of Massachusetts alleging the institution discriminated against her on account of her age, sex, disability and nationality.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that Dr. Charu S. Desai, 69, who suffers from a cardiac arrhythmia, alleges the hospital paid her less, refused to accommodate her disability and eventually fired her following a “fraudulent” probe into alleged work deficiencies.
Desai filed the lawsuit March 19 in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The case was assigned to Judge Timothy S. Hillman. It demands $1 million, according to the report.
In the court filing, Desai’s attorney, Patricia A. Washienko of Boston, alleged that, prior to 2016, her client was a well-respected radiologist of more than 20 years in the UMass system who had never faced a malpractice lawsuit or been presented with serious concerns about her work, the report noted.
The lawsuit alleges that a number of radiologists over age 40 have left or been forced out, while others had, as far back as 2013, complained of being paid less than younger colleagues, the publication noted.
However, the lawsuit states the hospital “recently” hired a younger male radiologist at $365,000 per year — $25,000 more than Desai was paid, the report added.
Desai further alleged that Dr. Max Rosen, chairman of radiology at the Medical Center, refused her reasonable work requests for her disability that were granted to other, non-disabled employees.
Such requests allegedly included requests for fewer clinical days and requests for a home workstation, according to the report.
The newspaper added that Desai alleged that while her request for 12 fewer clinical days per year was refused, others with less experience and no disabilities were allowed 70 fewer days annually.
Desai alleged that in March 2018, Rosen handed her a letter informing her she would be terminated, it said.
She said she was at first not given a reason for dismissal, but later told that deficiencies in her work were detected following an independent review, according to the report.
Washienko alleged the review was a sham, saying that getting details about the review proved difficult, and that Rosen refused to turn over records related to the inquiry. The records Desai was able to review did not show errors on her part, Washienko alleged, terming the review a “deliberate attempt to sabotage Desai, according to the report.
Washienko further alleged that the investigation was motivated by Desai’s age and/or disability, and that she was paid less as a result of her race, nationality and gender, it said.
The lawsuit levies eight civil counts, including violation of civil rights, violation of federal and state pay equality acts, violation of disability laws, age discrimination and defamation, it said.