On Friday (3-29), U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow threw out two claims of sex discrimination against the National Institutes of Health. Dismissing the claims as “exaggerated,” Chasanow said the two separate claims by two women lacked substance. Dr. Maureen Polsby, a neurologist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes from 1983 to 1985 maintains she was denied mentoring opportunities and did not receive a third-year research appointment because she had refused a supervisor’s sexual advances. Margaret Jensvold, a psychiatrist on staff at the National Institute of Mental Health from 1987 to 1989, also said she was barred from mentoring opportunities which are considered key to career advancement. Jensvold argued that the mentoring opportunities, which facilitate conducting research and publishing findings, were handed from male senior researchers to other men in a sexist atmosphere.
In 1994, a judge found the denial of mentoring in the Jensvold case a form of sex bias, and awarded her $1. After a subsequent Supreme Court ruling finding that Jensvold’s case did not have the right to a jury trial, the case was given to Chasanow to re-try without a jury.