Chapman University Agrees to Pay $175,000 to Settle Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
Last week the U.S.Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that Chapman University has agreed to pay $175,000 to settle charges of sex discrimination filed by the federal agency, apparently for denying tenure to one of its female professors.
Lynn Hamrick was professor in Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (DCFMA) from 1999 through 2007. In 2007, Hamrick was denied tenure and promotion to the position of associate professor. Hamrick believed that the denial was based on her gender. She appealed to the university’s grievance committee, who ruled in her favor, but then was overturned by Chapman’s Senate Executive Board.
Hamrick then filed a complaint with the EEOC, prompting an investigation. The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information. The EEOC is authorized to investigate allegations of discrimination and file lawsuits against employers that it determines may have engaged in discriminatory conduct.
The EEOC’s investigation determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that Chapman University had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender. Olophius Perry, district director for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office said, “Sex discrimination is the third most frequent type of complaint we see across the country.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Chapman University will provide live training on sex discrimination, including harassment and retaliation, to all employees of Chapman University’s DCFMA. Managers and supervisors will also receive additional training and the university has agreed to create a toll-free hotline for DCFMA. Perry said that “Prevention is the key to ensuring equal opportunities at work for both women and men. We are pleased that Chapman University will implement extensive measures to protect employees’ rights.”
Both federal and California laws protect employees from discrimination based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, and disability or genetic information. If you believe you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.