Paul L. Caron
Dean



Monday, December 16, 2019

Linda Mullenix Files Federal Lawsuit Against University Of Texas Law School Alleging Sex Discrimination, Retaliation, And Violation Of Equal Pay Act

Linda Mullenix, Morris & Rita Atlas Chair in Advocacy at the University of Texas, has filed an explosive lawsuit against the law school:

MullenixPlaintiff Linda Susan Mullenix files Plaintiff’s Original Complaint & Jury Demand, and sues the University of Texas for violations of the Equal Pay Act, as well as for sex discrimination and retaliation.

Over the past three years, Professor Linda Mullenix, one of UT Law’s most distinguished professors, has been paid $134,449 less than male professor Robert Bone. Professor Bone has the same above-average teacher evaluation rating as Professor Mullenix, but almost a decade less overall teaching experience, fewer than a third of Professor Mullenix’s overall publications, and fewer professional honors. This pay gap is sex discrimination.

Moreover, UT Law has retaliated against Professor Mullenix for opposing the law school’s unequal pay practices. For the last several years, Professor Mullenix has received among the lowest raises of any tenured faculty. For example, Professor Mullenix received a $1,500 raise for the 2018-2019 academic year, which was the lowest raise given to any faculty member. That same year Professor Bone, and many other professors less accomplished than Professor Mullenix, received $10,000 raises, some of the highest raises given. Dean Farnsworth also retaliated against Professor Mullenix and attempted to chill reports of discrimination by telling Professor Mullenix that he would pay her the same as Professor Bone only if she agreed to resign in two years. At that time and at present, Professor Mullenix has no plans to resign.

Another example of retaliation is that despite Professor Mullenix’s repeated requests to be appointed Associate Dean for Research or to be put on the prestigious Budget Committee, she has been relegated to “do-nothing” committees that have little impact on the governance of the law school. Most disturbingly, because of Professor Mullenix’s opposition to UT Law’s unequal pay practices, she has been made a pariah by the administration. New professors are told to stay away from her and that she is “poison.” Professor Mullenix’s marginalization is also held out as a warning to other professors who might speak out.

UT Law has reason to be worried about others speaking out about unequal pay and sex discrimination. For at least the last three years, UT Law has, on average, paid tenured female professors over $20,000 less than tenured male professors.

By paying Professor Mullenix less than a similarly-situated male professor and retaliating against her for opposing unequal pay based on gender, UT Law has violated Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Texas Labor Code.

Update:  Law.com, Once Again, University of Texas Law Accused of Underpaying Women

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/12/linda-mullenix-files-federal-lawsuit-against-university-of-texas-law-school-alleging-sex-discriminat.html

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Comments

I'm not sure attacking colleagues by name is the best strategy here

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Dec 16, 2019 4:01:51 AM

Quote: Over the past three years, Professor Linda Mullenix, one of UT Law’s most distinguished professors, has been paid $134,449 less than male professor Robert Bone. Professor Bone has the same above-average teacher evaluation rating as Professor Mullenix, but almost a decade less overall teaching experience, fewer than a third of Professor Mullenix’s overall publications, and fewer professional honors. This pay gap is sex discrimination.

My hunch is that, given all those credentials, her pay gap is the result of poor salary negotiating skills on her part. And incidentally, that's not a good trait for a lawyer to have.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Dec 17, 2019 3:28:11 AM

Like Fannie Mae and the Post Office, a "public" college is not subject to normal competitive pressures. How can you fully "negotiate" against someone with taxpayer-funded tenure?

The university should be held accountable for paying and promoting all of its employees (not to mention admitting and educating students!) fairly, objectively and transparently.

Posted by: Anand Desai | Dec 20, 2019 5:58:44 AM