Fired former radiology director sues hospital, alleging gender discrimination

A former radiology director at Mercy Medical Center is suing the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, institution, claiming she experienced gender discrimination from her first interview up until her firing in August.

Jennifer McDowell, 45, claims she endured harassment, unequal pay and retaliation and is seeking more than $75,000 in compensation for lost benefits and wages, damages from emotional distress and attorney fees. She alleges that the prejudicial behavior started during her job interview in October 2016, when she was quizzed about her children and marital status, according to the lawsuit.

“Had I had any inclination that there was this level of discrimination in this organization, I would never have moved my family across the country,” McDowell, who relocated from Seattle for the job and now works in Arizona, told the Des Moines Register in a Jan. 9 report.

Among her allegations is a claim that a male doctor threw an “adult tantrum” after the launch of an IV initiative. McDowell says she also was “berated” by another physician for implementing a protocol to reduce radiation exposure. She further alleges getting paid $62,000 less than her male predecessor and says she was let go as part of pattern of “terminating women in high level positions who complain of discrimination.”

For its part, Mercy denied the allegations, calling them meritless and stating it has a as “a long history of commitment to providing a respectful, inclusive and equal workplace,” according to the report.

The lawsuit was originally filed in Linn County District Court last fall but transferred to U.S. District Court Jan. 7, according to the Gazette of Cedar Rapids. 

Read the full news report from the Des Moines Register below.