U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
University Paid Female Full Law Professors Significantly Less Than Male Counterparts, Federal Agency Charges
DENVER, Colo. - The University of Denver violated federal law by paying female employees lower wages than men, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit today.
EEOC says the private research university in Denver, which is made up of 13 undergraduate and graduate schools and colleges, paid a class of female full law professors at the Sturm College of Law lower salaries than it paid to their male counterparts who were doing substantially equal work under similar working conditions.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, both of which prohibit discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex. EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Colorado Seminary d/b/a University of Denver, Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-02471-WYD, in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay damages for lost wages, liquidated damages and punitive damages, as well as prospective salary increases to ensure the alleged victims are paid equally going forward. EEOC also seeks appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discriminatory practices in the future.
Enforcement of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
"Enforcing the Equal Pay Act and closing the pay gap are priorities for EEOC," said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "By enforcing the EPA and Title VII's prohibition on compensation discrimination based on sex, EEOC ensures that women will be equally and fairly paid for the same work. The guarantee of equal pay for equal work applies to the professional academic setting of a university just the same as any other workplace."
Elizabeth Cadle, acting district director of EEOC's Phoenix District Office, added, "It's not only unfair when women are paid less than men when they perform substantially equal work under similar working conditions - it's against the law. EEOC is committed to ensuring that women in all workplaces receive equal pay to which they are entitled."
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.