Thursday, September 3, 2015

EEOC Finds Women Profs Paid Less at Denver Law School | National Law Journal

Lucy Marsh, a teacher at University of Denver Sturm College of law since 1973 and a full professor since 1982 filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  She alleges that Denver pays women less than men for comparable work.   A popular, innovative,and ward-winning teacher, she scores low on the prestige scale because she does not write the sort of doctrinal and theoretical pieces that academics especially value.

EEOC is a weak agency, with limited enforcement powers.  Their proposal that the University enter mediation has been embraced, however.  - gwc

EEOC Finds Women Profs Paid Less at Denver Law School | National Law Journal

by Karen Sloan

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found evidence that the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has for decades paid female faculty less than their male colleagues.

The law school may owe as much as $1.2 million in back pay to female professors and could be liable for attorney costs and more for violating the Equal Pay Act, according to Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that helped represent longtime Denver law professor and complainant Lucy Marsh.

“I have considered all the evidence obtained during the investigation and find there is reasonable cause to believe there is a violation of Title VII in that there appears to be a continuing pattern or practice at the Sturm College of Law, dating back to as early as 1973, of compensating female law professors less than their male counterparts,” wrote EEOC Denver field office director John Lowrie in an Aug. 28 letter to the university.

The university knew of the pay disparity since at least 2012 but made no attempt to address it, the EEOC found. If the school does not comply with the law by granting back wages and future salary increases to the affected women law professors, the EEOC may sue, the letter warned.

“The University of Denver accepts the invitation from the EEOC and intends to enter into mediation and reach a just resolution to this matter,” according to a university-issued statement. “The University of Denver has long recognized that historic gender pay inequity was in place in the 1970’s throughout the United States, when Professor Marsh was hired.”

The statement also countered the EEOC’s conclusions, pointing to an independent consultant’s findings last year that law school faculty pay is based on current rank, performance evaluations, administrative roles and age when a faculty member’s current rank was attained. Any links between pay and gander were too weak to draw conclusions, the consultant found.

“In this era of cost containment and assessment we stand by our historical system of evaluation and merit pay,” said University of Denver Chancellor Rebecca Chopp.

Marsh, who has taught at the school since 1973, filed her complaint against the law school in 2013. She is paid $109,000 a year, compared to the median full professor salary of $149,000, according to Equal Rights Advocates.
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