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Chapman Settles Sex Discrimination Suit With Female Professor

After almost ten years at Chapman University in Orange County, film professor Lynn Hamrick was denied tenure. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that she was discriminated against based on her gender, claiming that she was denied tenure because she is a woman.

Hamrick began working at Chapman in 1999 as an assistant professor in the University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (DCFMA). She was up for tenure – which would include promotion to associate professor – review in 2007, but alleged that she did not receive tenure because she is female.

Hamrick appealed the denial of tenure and the Chapman grievance committee found in her favor. The Senate Executive Board at Chapman vacated the grievance committee’s decision, prompting Hamrick’s EEOC complaint.

The EEOC’s investigation found that there was reason to believe that the denial of tenure was done, at least in part, because Hamrick is a woman.

The school denies that it did anything wrong and stands by its tenure review process. However, Chapman is settling the case with Hamrick, “to avoid litigation.” The school has agreed to pay Hamrick $175,000, create a training program for school employees about sex discrimination and to set up a hotline for reporting discrimination.

District director for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, Olophius Perry, noted, “Sex discrimination is the third most frequent type of complaint we see across the country. Prevention is the key to ensuring equal opportunities at work for both women and men.”

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Calif. university settles sex discrimination case,” June 6, 2012

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