Women Sue VSU Over|Alleged Pay Inequities


     (CN) – Three female employees of Virginia State University claim in separate lawsuits they are paid less than their male counterparts for comparable work.
     Sandra Evans, Deborah Goodwyn and Zoe Spencer filed separate lawsuits against VSU and a number of university officials in Richmond, Va. city court last week for violation of the Equal Pay Act.
     Spencer has worked for VSU since 2008 and currently holds the position of associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice, according to her lawsuit.
     She says makes $70,000 annually but claims that male associate professors at VSU with comparable experience, qualifications and responsibilities make between $76,000 and $119,000. Spencer further alleges that two male assistant professors, a lower rank than associate professor, each make more than $100,000 per year.
     Evans claims that one male colleague with fewer qualifications makes almost twice her pay. She has been working at VSU since 2002 and currently works as a lecturer and Director of the First-Year Experience Program, according to her lawsuit.
     Evans says she holds two Master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in education. She makes $61,000 per year but another VSU director, who does not have a doctorate degree and “has minimal responsibilities,” makes $114,000, her lawsuit states.
     Goodwyn has been working for the university since 1996 and currently works as an associate professor and academic fellow, her lawsuit states. She holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English.
     Her $88,000 annual salary is less than that of male associate professors who have comparable or fewer qualifications and responsibilities, some of whom make more than $110,000 per year, according to her complaint.
     The three lawsuits allege VSU knew about the pay disparity but did not address the problem.
     “In 2012 the Gender Equity Task Force warned the administration about the university’s potential under the EPA and Title VIII, recommending the hiring of a vice president or ombudsman for equity, and made further recommendations for addressing the disparity,” the complaints state. “The administration dismissed the findings and recommendations of the task force, and have since continued to willfully and knowingly violate the EPA and Title VIII.”
     The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
     Spencer, Goodwyn and Evans each seek an injunction against VSU, front pay, varying amounts of back pay, and an additional $500,000 in damages.
     The three women are represented by Colleen Quinn of Locke & Quinn in Richmond, Va.

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