Manal Abdelmalek, a professor of medicine at Duke, has filed a lawsuit against the university, accusing them of gender and ethnic discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, Abdelmalek, who immigrated to the United States as a child from Egypt, had been “subjected to discrimination on the basis of her gender and her race/national origin.”
The suit argues that Duke Medical Center has a “history of favoring men over women [for] promotion and compensation” and a “pattern and practice” of paying male employees and white employees more than female employees and non-white employees who have “equal or better training, experience and performance.”
The lawsuit additionally claims that Duke Medical Center is known for, “More readily promoting men over women,” and of denying leadership position opportunities to ethnic minority women with equal or more experience than their male and/or non-ethnic minority women counterparts.
In 2016, Abdelmalek said she complained about her treatment by the leadership team at Duke to Andrew Muir, professor of medicine and Gastrointestinal (GI) division chair.
“Dr. Muir responded by telling Plaintiff that Duke is a Southern sexist institution and that she simply needed to do her best to get along and learn ‘soft skills,’” the complaint stated. “Dr. Muir told her that if she could not conform to these cultural norms at Duke, then she should just leave the University.”
Abdelmalek alleged that Muir denied her a proper salary. In 2016, she asked for a salary increase that corresponded to “the amount of money that she was bringing into the University and what she understood her white male counterparts were being paid.” However, Muir reportedly blocked her request.
The suit says that Muir denied Abdelmalek her earned financial incentives for clinical work and research for meeting certain benchmark measures, in addition to cutting her ability to do the work that would earn her more of these payments. As a result, she has reportedly lost about $43,293 in payments over three academic years.
Steward Fisher, Abdelmalek’s lawyer, said it will be a long time until the court decides on the outcome of this case.
“I really admire Dr. Abdemalek and I think she’s been treated wrongfully, so I look forward to moving forward with her case,” Fisher said.
Abdelmalek “seeks injunctive relief, monetary relief, compensatory damages, liquidated damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.”