Vassar Gender Discrimination

On August 30, 2023, Lieff Cabraser and Equal Rights Advocates filed a federal class action gender discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of five female current and former Vassar College professors alleging systemic pay disparities and an ongoing pattern of pay discrimination, with 36 additional female full professors writing jointly to say that they share the class representatives’ grievances about Vassar’s pattern of pay discrimination. The case challenges pervasive and long-standing gender-based pay disparities between Vassar’s male and female full professors.

You can read a copy of the Class Action Complaint and the Joint Statement of 36 Women Full Professors at Vassar in Support of the Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit Seeking Pay Equity here.

The professors allege that Vassar has known for years that it unlawfully pays men more than women, and has for years refused to adequately address the discrimination. Vassar is one of the Seven Sisters, a group of historically women’s colleges founded on the promise of gender equity. The lawsuit describes how women professors at Vassar have attempted for at least 15 years to work discreetly and collaboratively with the College to remedy the gender pay gap, but that the College has both ignored the problem and taken steps to decrease the level of pay transparency in recent years, in an apparent attempt to mask the disparity.

Lieff Cabraser partner Kelly Dermody, who represents the plaintiffs as co-lead counsel, noted, “Plaintiffs—and all Vassar female full professors—are leaders in their fields and highly regarded by both their contemporaries and their students. For too long, Vassar has refused to equitably value their contributions to the College. We hope this case will prompt Vassar to finally live up to the storied role in the movement for gender equality that it so publicly claims.”

In the words of the plaintiffs Wendy Graham (Professor of English), Maria Höhn (Professor Emerita of History), Mia Mask (Professor of Film), Cindy Schwarz (Professor of Physics), and Debra Zeifman (Professor of Psychological Science) themselves: “Through this action, we seek to achieve what we were prevented from accomplishing through private internal channels: gender equity for ourselves and other female full faculty, and the adoption of fair processes to ensure that future generations of faculty are paid, promoted, and evaluated fairly.”

Contact an Employment Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser Today

If you believe you are affected by the allegations in the Vassar gender discrimination complaint, or want more information about the case and the rights of those experiencing gender, race, or age discrimination in employment, you can contact a lawyer at Lieff Cabraser by calling us toll-free at 1 800-541-7358 or by using the confidential contact form below.

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