The Bangor School Committee member who sued Northern Light Health over unequal pay at its Acadia Hospital is asking a judge to award her more than $200,000 now that the hospital has admitted it paid female psychologists less than men doing the same job.
Attorneys for Clare E. Mundell, who now is self-employed, filed a motion Wednesday for summary judgment in her pending lawsuit against the hospital system in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
Mundell, 58, who was elected to the Bangor School Committee in November, began working at Acadia Hospital in November 2017 as a pool psychologist for $50 per hour. About two years later, she learned that her two male psychologist colleagues were making $90 and $95 per hour.
Northern Light Acadia Hospital in Bangor is Northern Light’s psychiatric hospital.
Suzanne Spruce, spokesperson for Northern Light declined late Friday afternoon to comment on Mundell’s motion because she was unable to reach the lawyer representing it in the case ahead of the three-day Labor Day weekend.
Mundell’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.
Northern Light’s response to the motion is due Sept. 22.
A demand letter dated March 10, 2020, the day after Mundell quit, said that she was owed more than $219,000 in back wages, damages, legal fees and interest as of that date.
As of Wednesday, 18 months after the demand letter was written, that amount would be higher due to additional legal fees and pre-judgment interest earned while the matter is being resolved.
After Mundell complained about the unequal pay, all pool psychologists had their hourly pay set at $57 per hour, though Northern Light deferred the change in pay for the male psychologists for three months to “ease their transition” to the new salary, Northern Light confirmed in its response to the lawsuit filed in March. The system also denied that the pay disparity was based on sex.
The documents filed in support of the summary judgment motion included an admission by Northern Light that a study comparing the pay rates for men and women working for the health care system was conducted.
Northern Light employs about 14,000 people across its 10 hospitals and affiliated medical practices and other entities.
“It is admitted that the study revealed pay discrepancies between male and female employees with the same job title in the Psychology Department, and that other pay discrepancies were identified, including in some instances female employees being paid more than male employees,” the document, dated May 7, said.
The results of that study have not been included in the materials filed in the lawsuit.
Mundell sued Northern Light in January seeking unspecified damages for unequal pay, sex discrimination and retaliation. She also asked that U.S. District Judge Lance Walker order Northern Light to train all employees about civil rights law and pay disparities so other women aren’t paid less than their male colleagues.