OB/GYN alleges discrimination in lawsuit against WhidbeyHealth

Dr. Melissa Chin alleges discrimination based on her gender and national origin.

An obstetrician-gynecologist who formerly worked at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center filed a lawsuit against the hospital district in U.S. District Court, claiming discrimination based on her gender and national origin.

Dr. Melissa Chinn is asking to be reinstated at a higher salary and paid damages for lost compensation, emotional distress and other statutory awards.

The claim for damages alleges that Chinn was subjected to a culture of gender and race discrimination and witnessed unsafe practices but then was fired after she reported her concerns to hospital officials and the state Department of Health,

The claim for damages states that Chinn discovered she had been paid less than male employees doing substantially equal work.

She also alleges that there was a pattern of nurses, staff and medical providers refusing to follow her directives about patient care while the male, non-Asian doctors were listened to and not undermined; other female providers suffered similar treatment, the complaint states.

Chinn claims she was subjected to overtly racist comments and even had to listen to a colleague’s “diatribes” about Asians and World War II while they were in the operating room.

“WhidbeyHealth fostered a workplace culture in which Dr. Chinn was expected to be docile and subservient despite her role as a physician directing patient care,” the complaint states.

“When she reported her concerns that she was being treated differently because of her sex, race or national origin, or the intersection of all of these characteristics, WhidbeyHealth refused to act and tolerated this discriminatory treatment,” the complaint said.

Chinn’s legal claims include wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation.

A hospital official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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