The matter of equal pay for women who perform the same work as men occupied the spotlight in an issue that recently arose at a prestigious university.
In academia, as in the business world, the existence of a wage gap between male and female employees doing the same work could lead to an investigation and possible legal action.
According to research performed under the Federal Contract Compliance Program in the Department of Labor, pay disparity occurred between 2012 and 2014 at Princeton University. Findings revealed that 106 women who held full professor positions during that time received less pay than their male counterparts. The disparity issue also appeared in findings involving 2019 human resources data at The Ohio State University. Researchers there found a wage gap of 11% between male and female professors indicating that the issue might be more prevalent in academia than is commonly believed.
Why the university settled
While a university spokesperson stated that an internal analysis did not show any “meaningful pay disparities based on gender” during the 2012-2014 time period, Princeton agreed to resolve the matter financially rather than participate in costly litigation. The agreement included $925,000 in back pay and $250,000 in future wages for the female professors.
How to move on
An employee who feels her employer is engaging in discriminatory practices due to a pay disparity between females and their male counterparts might consider pursuing the matter through the court system. If successful, she might qualify for the recovery of lost wages as well as attorney fees and court costs.