Northern Michigan University recently agreed to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by four female professors for $1.46 million.
Northern Michigan University recently agreed to pay $1.46 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The suit was originally filed back in early 2019 by Sterling Attorneys at Law, P.C. on behalf of four female professors from NMU’s College of Business. According to the suit, the professors allegedly “suffered gender discrimination and disparate pay compared with their male colleagues.” The settlement was reached about seven weeks before a trial was set to begin in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to settle the dispute.
As part of the recent settlement, the university must fork over $1.46 million to the plaintiffs, including Claudia L. Hart, Carol S. Steinhaus, Karin M. Stulz, and Margaret E. Vroman. According to Sterling, the settlement is one of the “largest pre-trial settlements for a gender discrimination case in the U.S.” When commenting on the matter, Brian J. Farrar, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs said:
“The professors are very pleased with this settlement and hope that it encourages others to stand up for gender equity and fairness in the workplace.”
Hart also chimed in with the following statement:
“We encourage women and men in positions of authority to take a stand and support justice in their workplaces. Individuals struggle to fight injustice alone.”
In a separate statement, Stulz said:
“We have been fortunate to have friends, family, and complete strangers stand by us and our cause for equal pay for equal work. We hope to inspire others to pursue justice.”
Vroman added, “Although it took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get to this point, it will all be worth it if it results in positive change in pay and attitudes.”
Sterling noted that despite the settlement, NMU has denied any liability or wrongdoing. Additionally, it issued the following statement about the settlement:
“NMU is pleased to have reached a voluntary and amicable settlement with four former College of Business faculty. The settlement allows the university to move ahead in the best interest of the students. NMU wishes the faculty well in their retirements…To the extent the faculty members’ lawyer intends to imply that the settlement could be viewed as evidence of any wrongdoing by NMU, NMU would like to point out that each of the faculty members expressly agreed to the following statement: ‘The Parties acknowledge, represent and agree that this Agreement is not intended to be, and shall not be construed as, an admission of fault or liability, to any extent whatsoever, by any Party.’”
University President Fritz Erickson chimed in and said, “Northern Michigan University is committed to equity and inclusiveness, two integral components at the core of who we are as a community.”