TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tenured Florida A&M Prof Sues Law School, Claiming Gender Discrimination in Pay

Tampa Tribune, FAMU’s Law School Hit with Discrimination, Unequal Pay Lawsuit by Female Professor:

Florida AM LogoJennifer Smith, an associate professor hired in 2004, ... accuses [Florida A&M Law School] of eight violations of federal and state law on equal pay and gender discrimination, her suit says. She seeks unspecified damages, a promotion to full professor, attorney fees and other relief.

Her complaint says the law school “consistently hired men at considerably higher rates than women,” with male associate professors “paid considerably more” than females. Smith says she was granted tenure in 2010, but has been repeatedly turned down for promotion to full professor ever since, starting that same year.

Smith’s complaint says that an administrator “sabotaged” her promotion by replacing the good recommendations in her file with bad ones and then called other university officials to further torpedo any promotion. She says her treatment was in part retaliation for submitting public record requests to the school for professor-pay information.

Her complaint also reveals she lodged a workplace-violence complaint against the same administrator, saying that person “made some threatening comments about her.” Smith’s complaint quotes from a September 2012 ABA report on the law school that cited faculty concerns about an “inhospitable environment for women, lesbians and gay faculty members.”

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Regardless of the truth of the case, the costs will be borne by the students, parents, and taxpayers. If the case proves legitimate, it would be *superb* were university employees held personally accountable for the resulting legal bills and fines. That would be true "social justice."

Posted by: Roger Godby | Aug 8, 2014 5:21:04 AM

Another affirmative action, chip-on-her shoulder, perpetual victim. And, yes, loser pays would be a good way to staunch frivilous actions. Please post a link to the complaint. I'd like to follow this one

Posted by: jim sweeney | Aug 8, 2014 5:55:29 AM

Gender discrimination is not illegal in Florida or in the United States. Sex discrimination is.

Posted by: Federale | Aug 8, 2014 9:25:01 AM

Unfortunately there have been so many false claims of both gender discrimination and racial discrimination that the few legitimate cases have to fight a much steeper battle to be taken seriously. Worse still, many of these false climes result in unwarranted awards that penalize everyone else and poison workplaces .

Posted by: Allan Erickson | Aug 8, 2014 9:40:31 AM