The University of Miami is facing accusations of wage discrimination by a female professor who said she earned a lower salary than her male counterpart. Professor Louise Davidson-Schmich, in conjunction with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), filed a lawsuit on Monday.
In the suit, Davidson-Schmich claimed that although she had similar qualifications and in an equal position, the university paid a male professor significantly more to perform the same duties. According to a report published in JD Supra, the two professors taught political science, became tenured at the same time and received similar evaluations.
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The University of Miami hired Davidson-Schmich as an assistant professor in 2002. Her salary was $50,000 annually. When she was given tenure as an associate professor in 2007, her compensation increased to $72,500. Professor Gregory Koger, who taught at the University of Montana for four years, was also hired by the University of Miami for the same position in the same year. He was paid $81,000 annually, according to the lawsuit. That’s a pay gap of almost $9,000. By that time, Davidson-Schmich was already a published author and had published more articles than Koger. He did not publish his first work until 2010.
In 2017, they were both recommended to become fully-tenured professors. A year prior, Davidson-Schmich won the 2016 New Zealand Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Both professors were reviewed by the dean to determine promotion. Davidson-Schmich and Koger received above-average teaching evaluations. The lawsuit said Koger’s service component “lacked any distinction” and Davidson-Schmich “has willingly assumed more than her share of service assignments — in the profession as well as at the university — when asked or on her own initiative.”
After they were promoted, female professors at the University of Miami raised concerns about the unfair treatment of female faculty members in May 2017. Davidson-Schmich, specifically, mentioned wage discrimination and the gender pay gap among female and male professors at the school. The dean of the College of Arts and Science heard the concerns but never addressed them.
Davidson-Schmich petitioned the Title IX coordinator to investigate if male counterparts received higher salaries than female associates. Her request was never answered.
It was pure luck that in May 2018, Davidson-Schmich was erroneously sent an email that disclosed Koger’s salary of $137,366 while the University of Miami paid Davidson-Schmich $112,400. In June 2018, she filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, which ultimately took up her case and sued the school on her behalf. The EEOC determined the university violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and the Civil Rights Act (CRA).
Now, the professor is seeking back pay and damages in the lawsuit.
This isn’t the first time the university faced allegations of gender wage discrimination. Last August, the assistant professor in the college of engineering, Sung Hee Joo, filed a complaint that stated men with similar positions and qualifications were paid substantially more.
A study from the Department of Education indicated there were major disparities between male and female assistant, associate, and full professors at the University of Miami over the years, most recently in 2017.