You’d think that if any employer would be cognizant of workplace law, it’d be a law school, right? Apparently not the case at the University of Denver, if the EEOC’s recent charges are true.  

The university violated federal law by paying female employees lower wages than men, the agency charged in a recent lawsuit.

The EEOC said the private research university, which is made up of 13 undergraduate and graduate schools and colleges, paid a class of female full law professors at its Sturm College of Law lower salaries than it paid to their male counterparts who were doing substantially equal work under similar working conditions.

According to a story in The Denver Post, the case centers on longtime DU law school professor Lucy Marsh, who filed a complaint with the commission more than two years ago.

Prior to the lawsuit, the EEOC sent a letter to the university saying that an investigation found a gender pay gap among the school’s legal faculty dating back to at least 1973, the Post said.

The letter, provided to the newspaper by Marsh’s attorney, also declared that the EEOC concluded that the university knew about the gap by 2012, “but took no action to ameliorate this disparity, in effect intentionally condoning and formalizing a history of wage disparity based on sex.”

Per the Post, the university hired a consultant to evaluate the law school’s pay structure in 2014. The consultant concluded there was no evidence that gender plays a role in setting pay and that pay disparities result from a combination of a professor’s rank, duties, age and performance scores.

Clearly, the EEOC doesn’t agree. Its 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.

The case is EEOC v. Colorado Seminary d/b/a University of Denver. We’ll keep you posted.

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