Law Schools

EEOC sues University of Denver law school for alleged pay discrimination

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday filed a lawsuit for alleged pay discrimination against the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

The suit says the average salary of full-time female professors at the law school is about $20,000 less than that of full-time male professors, the Denver Post reports. KUSA also has a story, noted by TaxProf Blog.

Law professor Lucy Marsh had claimed pay discrimination in an EEOC complaint filed in 2013. She said she had taught law at the school since 1973 and had been a full professor since 1982. She makes about $112,000, which is less than the amount paid to every full-time male law professor, the EEOC says.

The suit says EEOC talks with the law school to remedy pay inequities failed in May.

A law school spokesperson told KUSA on Friday that it had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. The school issued a statement in 2015 saying that pay differences were due to professors’ rank, duties, age and performance scores. The statement said Marsh’s salary was lower because of her “substandard performance in scholarship, teaching and service.”

According to Marsh’s faculty page on the law school’s website, she’s received both an excellence in teaching award and a professor of the year award. It lists 13 of her publications, ranging from 2016 to 1992. Much of her work centers on wills in tribal law, and in 2013 she set up a project that takes law students to the Ute Mountain reservations, to write wills for tribal members. According to her resume (PDF), she received a special award for pro bono service from the Colorado Supreme Court in 2015 for the Tribal Wills Project.

Marsh spoke with the Denver Post about the suit. “It takes a lot of commitment for the EEOC to bring actual litigation, so they must really think it’s important, as I do. But it’s more important than my particular case,” she said. “I’d like to impact DU and academic institutions everywhere to finally see the writing on the wall.”

Updated at 4:15 p.m. to add more detail about Marsh’s academic background.

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