A federal judge has ordered Northern Light Acadia Hospital to pay a Bangor psychologist nearly $181,000 in back pay, damages and interest after it was determined that its parent organization, Northern Light Health, paid female psychologists about half of what it paid their male counterparts.
Lawyers for Northern Light Health have asked U.S. District Judge Lance Walker to reconsider his decision and have preserved their objections for a possible appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
Clare Mundell, 59, 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. She sued the hospital and Northern Light Health in January 2021.
Acadia Hospital in Bangor is Northern Light’s psychiatric hospital.
Northern Light admitted in March 2021 that it had paid Mundell less than her male colleagues, but said it was not because of her gender.
On Monday, Walker ordered that Mudell receive $57,916 in unpaid wages, $115,832 in damages and $7,200 in interest. The judge previously ruled that Northern Light Health would be responsible for Mundell’s legal fees. That amount will be determined at a later date.
Walker ruled in February that Acadia Hospital and Northern Light violated Maine’s equal pay law when it paid female psychologists less than male psychologists.
Since filing the lawsuit, Mundell has gone into private practice.
Mundell was elected to the Bangor School Committee in November 2020, and her term expires in 2023.
If lawyers for the hospital do not appeal the decision, Mundell will drop her lawsuit, which included a second count alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, her attorneys, David Webbert and Valerie Wicks of Augusta, said Monday.