LANDMARK VICTORY FOR GENDER ORIENTATION AND IOWA UNIVERSITY

An Iowa jury found in favor of Jane Meyer, a former senior associate and athletic director at Iowa University. Meyer alleged the school participated in gender and sexual orientation discrimination. The jury awarded Meyer $1.43 million as a result of the suit. The talented Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating sexual harassment and employment discrimination claims. We have recovered millions for our clients, giving them the relief they deserve.

According to reports, until 2014 Meyer was the highest ranking female employee in Iowa’s athletic department.  Eventually, Gary Barta, then athletic director, constructively terminated her from her position in 2014. Barta began his systematic harassment of Meyer as early as 2006 when he was hired. He began gradually taking away some of her responsibilities and in 2013 he created a “deputy” athletic director position and systematically cannibalized many of her key duties. Despite a virtually identical position being created, Barta told Meyer that she wasn’t qualified and gave the position to a man at a salary that was $70,000 higher than Meyer’s.

At the same time, Barta fired Tracey Griesbaum –Iowa’s field hockey coach and Meyer’s partner. Barta claimed the firing was the result of a pattern of abusive behavior Griesbaum exhibited toward her athletes. Iowa University investigated the claims but was unable to find any incidents of misconduct. Meyer further protested against the Universities decisions during staff meetings and later made a list of the sexists and gender-based discrimination she had seen and experienced at University of Iowa. The following day she was assigned to a different department at Barta’s request.

The case went to trial where a jury composed of five women and three men awarded Meyer $374,00 in back pay, $444,000 for emotional distress and $612,000 for future emotional distress. Meyer’s lawyers also asked the judge for an additional $2 million in legal fees and triple the amount of her back pay, which was permitted under Iowa law because “jurors found the University’s actions were willful.”

Gender discrimination is a pervasive problem in college athletic departments. Male coaches vastly outnumber female coaches in both lead positions and in pay. Specifically, male Division I coaches have enjoyed a 67% salary increase between 2003 and 2010 compared to the 16% pay rate increase for female coaches during the same period.

Gender discrimination in the workplace is not just a problem in athletic departments but throughout workplaces in general. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee based on their gender or perceived gender. While Title VII doesn’t specifically prohibit discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, recent cases out of the 7th judicial circuit have ruled that Title VII does prohibit an employer from discriminating against an individual based on their sexual orientation. This has caused a jurisdictional split.  Judge Posner’s opinion in favor of the Title VII protections based on sexual orientation is sure to make its way to the Supreme Court, and the current political climate leans in favor of the Honorable Posner.

The talented attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC have years of experience bringing claims of gender discrimination. We have worked tirelessly for our clients, recovering millions from employers who discriminate against their employees based on their gender and sexual orientation. If you feel like you have been discriminated against based on your gender sexual orientation, please give the skilled New York sexual harassment and employment discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, toll free at 1-888-4NYLAWS.


Call today to schedule a FREE sexual harassment or employment discrimination legal Consultation in NY, NJ & PA with one of our top rated employment law or sexual harassment attorneys here at the Derek Smith Law Group. You can reach us online or by calling 877.469.5297. Our New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia labor & employment law attorneys handle a variety of cases involving sexual harassment, racial discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and other employment-related claims. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey and Philadelphia to serve you.

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