City Agrees To Pay $21 Million To Nurses In Gender Discrimination Suit

July 18, 2018 - 11:43 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The city has agreed to pay nearly  $21 million to settle a decade-old gender discrimination lawsuit brought by nurses and midwives.

Years ago, nurses jobs were deemed not "physically taxing" while predominantly male positions were categorized as "physically taxing," which allowed men to retire younger.

City employees who work in a "pysically taxing" job can retire with full pension at age 50 after completing 25 years of service. But failure to recognize the work of nurses and midwives meant they had to wait until age 55 or 57 to retire.

The settlement involves more than 1,600 nurses and midwives hired by the city between 1965 and 2012.

As part of the settlement, the women will receive between $1,000 and $99,000.

Extra: Read The Settlement

“This Settlement Agreement will provide significant relief to a class of female nurses and midwives employed by the City of New York who were harmed by the City’s discriminatory employment practices,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. 

“City nurses and midwives care for sick and injured adults, juveniles, and infants through long days and nights under difficult circumstances, and rightfully should be recognized as doing physically taxing work,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Equal treatment under law means just that, equal treatment and this Office is committed to ensuring that women are treated fairly and equitably in the workplace.”

Plaintiff Anne Bové, a New York State Nurses Association Board Member, called the settlement "a victory for all nurses and a testament to the hard, physically demanding work that nurses do every day for those in need of care in the public hospitals."

“It is an acknowledgement of the injustice done to our sister and brother nurses who were denied recognition of the difficult nature of our work, all based on the discriminatory perception that nurses are mostly women and women’s work isn’t physically strenuous,” Bové said. “This was a great historical injustice against nurses and though the past cannot be changed, it is high time that the injustice be recognized and that affected nurses are at least compensated for being excluded from earning the same pension rights that other workers in physically taxing jobs received solely on the basis of sex.”

A spokesman for the city said Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed with the nurses and midwives and was committed to resolving their claims, calling the settlement a "fair and equitable resolution."