The University of Denver Sturm College of Law has agreed to pay $2.66 million to seven female law professors to settle claims of unequal pay.
Through a lawsuit originally filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission then joined by seven professors, the women claimed the law school "perpetuated an evaluation and pay system that resulted in unfair and discriminatory pay levels for male professors, while leaving female professors at the bottom half of the pay scale," a release from the attorney's office of six of the women read.
The settlement also includes mandatory pay increases for all seven professors.
DU has also agreed to take steps to eliminate the gender pay gap at the law school, including a six-year monitoring period where an outside consultant will review DU’s pay and performance criteria to "ensure personnel decisions are not adversely affecting female faculty."
Also, the school will hire a labor economist for an annual pay equity study.
DU will additionally be required to make salaries transparent to all tenured, tenure-track, and longterm contract faculty at the law school through an internal webpage.
Throughout the action, the law firm says DU staunchly defended its pay system and claimed that the female professors’ pay was justified due to performance.
The University of Denver released the following statement about the settlement.
Today, the University of Denver settled a legal matter filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, regarding compensation practices at the Sturm College of Law. We were able to reach a settlement that will not affect scholarships, financial aid or day-to-day operations of the University. One of the University’s cornerstone commitments is to ensure that our academic community compensates faculty and staff fairly, equitably and based on merit.
DU undertook the settlement process with great seriousness, deliberation and care for all involved, which by its nature took longer than we would have liked. While confident in our legal position, we were motivated to action by our strong desire to heal our community and move forward together. We believe this settlement will allow us to collectively focus on a present and a future in which the law school—and the DU community as a whole—can unite under our common values of equity, integrity and opportunity.