EEOC: Female law profs at the University of Denver are underpaid, violating the Equal Pay Act
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law is violating the Equal Pay Act by paying its female professors less than males.
The EEOC threatened suit over the gender pay gap in a letter sent to the university on Friday, report the Denver Post and KUSA. The agency said pay disparities at the law school appear to be a “continuing pattern” dating back to 1973. To comply with federal law, the university has to boost the wages of female law professors and give them back pay, the letter says.
The EEOC acted in response to a complaint filed by University of Denver law professor Lucy Marsh, whose $109,000 annual salary in 2012 made her the school’s lowest paid full professor. Marsh learned about the salary differences in a 2012 memo from the school dean that discussed merit raises and made salary comparisons.
The memo by law dean Martin Katz indicated that female full professors made $16,000 less on average than male full professors. Katz noted the pay disparity but said salary differences may be due to several factors, including differing merit raises and starting pay.
The law school defended its system of evaluation and merit pay for law professors in a statement by Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. The school cites a consultant’s findings that pay differences are due to a professor’s rank, duties, age and performance scores. The statement said Marsh’s salary was lower because of her “substandard performance in scholarship, teaching and service.”
Marsh counters that she has won several teaching awards and her Tribal Wills Project was recently recognized by the state supreme court.