HOUSTON (Mar. 8)
Two Jewish cardiovascular anesthesiologists have been vindicated in their suit that accused Baylor College of Medicine here of unlawfully discriminating against them by not allowing them to participate in the Baylor rotation to the King Faisal Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
U.S. District Court Judge James DeAnda, who ruled Tuesday in the case, found intentional discrimination on the basis of religion. The two doctors were identified as Lawrence Abrams and Stuart Linde.
In his findings, the judge ordered a permanent injunction prohibiting Baylor from discrimination on the basis of religion. “We must thereby permanently enjoin the defendant from excluding qualified Jews from the King Faisal rotation program,” DeAnda ruled.
He also awarded back pay to both doctors to compensate for the difference in wages received as members of the Baylor staff as opposed to what they would have received if they had been permitted to participate in the King Faisal program. The total amount of awards to Abrams was $156,840.30. The awards to Linde totalled $248,982.08.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SUIT
The consolidated cases, decided Tuesday, were brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits religious discrimination in employment, and were also brought under provisions of the Export Administration Act. Violations of both Title VII and the anti-boycott provisions of the Export Administration Act were found.
Commenting on the case, Stuart Nelkin, attorney for the two doctors, declared: “I am elated with the decision, not only for my clients, but also because I believe this decision is much bigger than the individual plaintiffs. It affects American Jews everywhere in this country, and I hope it is a precedent for continued policing of discriminatory actions by employers and suppliers adhering to the Arab boycott.”
DeAnda’s findings noted that the objective criteria established by Baylor for participation in the program regarding anesthesiologists are that: the person must be a member of the Baylor Department of Anesthesiology faculty; and that the person must be certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology or hold an equivalent foreign certification recognized by the Board.
SOME OF THE COURT’S FINDINGS
According to DeAnda, “The evidence clearly established that both plaintiffs met the objective criteria set forth immediately above during times material to this lawsuit.” The judge also stated, “The evidence shows that no qualified medical personnel employed by Baylor who were Jews have been afforded any rotation in the King Faisal program” since its inception in 1978.
The findings added that, “as was true of Dr. Abrams, the sole reason for Dr. Linde’s nonparticipation in the program is because Baylor administrators made it clear that Jews could not participate in the rotation. The court finds that Baylor has not established any bona fide justification for excluding Jews from the King Faisal program. These exclusionary practices were undertaken unilaterally by Baylor’s administrative officials.
“There is no evidence to show that Baylor officials took any appropriate steps to determine the actual policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia toward Jews participating in the program. Moreover, Baylor took no steps to alleviate or rectify the effects of any perceived discriminatory practices and policies on the part of the Saudis.”
INTENTIONAL BIAS AGAINST JEWS CITED
Continuing, the judge found that “The ready acquiescence of Baylor officials in furthering the perceived Saudi exclusion of Jews is in stark contrast to the nondiscriminatory policies which were implemented by two other institutions engaged in programs similar to the King Faisal rotations.”
DeAnda noted that officials of the University of Colorado Medical School and the University of Washington Medical School “insisted that nondiscrimination clauses be included in the agreements they entered into with the Saudis and that those clauses would be enforced. There is no reason to conclude that Baylor would have been unable to achieve the same results if it had only attempted to do so.”
The court found that “the discrimination against Jews was intentional, and that there was indifference and insensitivity on the part of the Baylor officials who actually administered the King Faisal program regarding the issue of whether Jews could participate in that program.”