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Female Professors Sue For Unequal Wages

Five female tenured professors at Rutgers University in New Jersey claim that the institution pays them significantly less per year than male tenured professors. Two years ago, the New Jersey governor signed into law strong equal pay protections. In response to the law, Rutgers initiated a program intended to redress pay inequities, encouraging professors to document disparities in wages.

The women’s lawsuit alleges that Rutgers has yet to address more than 130 of the unequal wage claims reported to it. Professor Deepa Kumar, one of the parties to the suit, earned a salary equal to or higher than the male professors at the time of her hire in 2004. However, in the intervening years, she received lower wage increases resulting in her earning about $25,000 less per year than those male professors in her department for an overall loss she estimates to be about $300,000. Professor Judith Storch claims that she is earning at least $46,000 less than her male colleagues for an overall loss of around $500,000.

In response to the lawsuit, Rutgers asserted its commitment to “pay equity” but also stated that its review of professor pay had been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2018 Rutgers study of salaries revealed that women’s salaries lagged behind the men’s by about 7% on average. According to the New York Times, of 81 requests submitted to Rutgers about salary disparity, Rutgers has yet to reach one determination.