Louise-Anne McNutt said she watched for years as her male colleagues got significantly larger raises than she received from the dean of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, even though she consistently performed high-quality research.
The tenured associate professor at UAlbany’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics also said other female faculty members were subjected to full departmental reviews when they were in need of contract renewals, while their male counterparts weren’t subject to the same level of scrutiny. And when she complained to the provost about the gender bias she perceived in the department, she claimed she faced retaliation from the university.
McNutt filed a federal lawsuit in October 2010 accusing Public Health Dean Philip Nasca and the university of sex discrimination. This week, attorneys representing the state settled the case out of court just hours before it was set to go to trial.
Under the terms of the settlement, McNutt was given a $150,000 lump-sum payment. The veteran professor of 17 years at UAlbany also had her base pay of $98,000 increased $10,000.
Contacted about the settlement, McNutt said she was pleased the case was resolved. She also believes the “winds of change” are now blowing in the state, as evidenced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent effort to bolster women’s equality in New York.
“Governor Cuomo has provided a vision of pay equity for women and I believe [UAlbany President Robert Jones] has made a decision regarding my case that is consistent with the governor’s leadership,” she said in an email Tuesday.
Karl Luntta, a spokesman for the university, declined to comment on the case.
“We would not comment on litigation ongoing or otherwise or on personnel matters,” he said.
McNutt’s lawsuit claimed the top eight highest-paid professors in Public Health’s two departments were all male. The eight lowest-paid full-time faculty members were all female, the lawsuit stated.
Additionally, McNutt claimed the top four discretionary raises given over a three-year period and averaging approximately $29,000 all went to male professors. The top discretionary raise to a female professor over the same time period was $4,700, the lawsuit stated.
In the fall of 2009, Nasca told McNutt he would give her a $5,000 raise, according to the lawsuit. McNutt then argued this was far less than her male colleagues were given and that she should get a $20,000 raise.
McNutt then filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, alleging that she was being discriminated against on the basis of sex and facing retaliation for complaining about the inequity.
The lawsuit claims Nasca then withheld the smaller raise he had originally promised her.
“These actions were taken solely because of her complaints about gender discrimination, including her complaint to the Division, and in order to retaliate against her and discourage others from raising issues relating to sex discrimination at the School of Public Health,” the lawsuit stated.