About forty to fifty years ago, it was no secret that women were making less money than their male counterparts. But when the Equal Pay Act of 1963 came into existence, it was generally accepted that this was all going to change. Now, in the 21st Century, many people in Indiana and beyond would be surprised to discover that women are still being paid less than men in similar positions.
This was the basis for a recent lawsuit out of New Jersey where 10 professors at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey were awarded $4.65 million in a sexual discrimination case.
It all started five years ago when the some of the female faculty members suspected that they were getting paid less than their male counterparts. Using the state’s open public records law, they gathered salary data and brought it to the attention of the university’s administrators. Even though they had evidence that suggested that they were being paid less, the women claim that the University did nothing to remedy the matter, thus leading them to filing the lawsuit.
Records indicated that female full-time professors made on average a little over $135,000 a year while men, in the same position, earned approximately $154,000. Some employment law experts point out that if the University had been enforcing the Equal Pay Act, which “prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions,” this wouldn’t have been the case.
After losing several key rulings in Superior Court, the University agreed to settlement talks. The settlement was finalized this month which not only awarded the women the settlement but will also give some of the woman raises to their salaries. It is their hope now is that the lawsuit will prompt the University to award equal pay to all of its female employees in the future.
Source: NJ.com, “Female UMDNJ professors settle with school for $4.65M in sex-discrimination lawsuit,” Kelly Heyboer, Dec. 7, 2012