Female Film Department Professor Denied Promotion Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charged
LOS ANGELES — Chapman University, a private university in Orange, Calif., will pay $175,000 and furnish other relief to settle a federal charge of sex discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
Since 1999, Lynn Hamrick worked as an assistant professor in Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (DCFMA). Hamrick alleged that in 2007 she was denied tenure – a promotion to the position of associate professor – because she is a woman. The denial of tenure was appealed to Chapman University’s grievance committee, which ruled in Hamrick’s favor. The decision, however, was vacated by Chapman’s Senate Executive Board, prompting the 2008 filing of Hamrick’s EEOC discrimination charge.
After an EEOC investigation, the district director of EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that Chapman’s decision to deny tenure to Hamrick was linked to her sex, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Chapman denied the allegations of sex discrimination and did not admit to liability while agreeing to settle the matter.
Following the EEOC’s determination, Chapman University entered into a one-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and Hamrick. The agreement effectively settles the case administratively, thereby avoiding litigation. Aside from the $175,000 in monetary relief for Hamrick, Chapman University agreed to administer a promotion for Hamrick to the position of associate professor for purposes of future employment, given that Hamrick has since left the university. Chapman further agreed to provide live training on sex discrimination, including harassment and retaliation, to all employees of the DCFMA, along with additional training for all supervisors and managers. Chapman University also agreed to create a toll-free hotline for DCFMA; post a notice on the matter; report future instances of discrimination to the EEOC; and publicize the settlement via press release.
“Sex discrimination is the third most frequent type of complaint we see across the country,” said Olophius Perry, district director for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Prevention is the key to ensuring equal opportunities at work for both women and men. We are pleased that Chapman University will implement extensive measures to protect employees’ rights.”
Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a private, non-profit university with programs in seven schools and colleges, and an enrollment of approximately 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.