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Natalie Urwyler wins her discrimination lawsuit against Bern University Hospital

The co-founder of strukturelle, Natalie Urwyler, worked at the Inselspital in Bern for over ten years. She is a specialist in anaesthiology and emergency medicine and pursued an academic career at Bern University Hospital. She was discriminated against by her employer and was dismissed in 2014 shortly after becoming a mother. She did not accept the discrimination and dismissal and took legal action.


On 17 November 2017, the Bern-Mittelland Regional Court ruled that the dismissal was discriminatory. The Inselspital lodged an appeal against this with the High Court of the Canton of Bern. On 2 July 2018, the High Court confirmed the regional court's finding of retaliatory dismissal and the judgement became final.


Now, on 26 January 2024, the Bern-Mittelland Regional Court finds gender discrimination. The judgement is not yet final, and Inselspital can also appeal to the High Court. As a result of the discrimination in promotion established by the court, Natalie Urwyler was not granted various pay rises and suffered considerable financial and pension damage.

«I am not an isolated case, I have seen many women in my career who are highly qualified, well trained, motivated and who were simply dismissed. Only very few have put up a legal defence because it's an expensive and rocky road.» Natalie Urwyler

Zita Küng, co-founder of strukturelle, gender equality expert and consultant, and Yvonne Schärli, former President of the Federal Commission for Women's Issues, attended the media conference on 31 January 2024 as experts.

Both women emphasised that discrimination means that women rarely reach management positions and are therefore at a massive financial disadvantage.


Natalie Urwyler was awarded the Prix Courage by the Beobachter in 2018 and the Doron Prize in 2023 for her work.


The long and rocky road Natalie Urwyler has travelled should encourage all women to fight back against injustice. This judgement, which establishes discrimination in promotion, is the first judgement in the history of Switzerland. It shows that women can successfully defend themselves. strukturelle is convinced that this judgement will send a strong signal to employers. It is to be hoped that most cases can be resolved out of court through constructive dialogue.

Natalie Urwyler is not an isolated case! The strukturelle association is committed to equal opportunities and fairness and has set itself the goal of providing support in cases like this.

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