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NMU College of Business settles gender discrimination lawsuit with four female professors

The college paid $1.46 million to professors Claudia L. Hart, Carol S. Steinhaus, Karin M. Stulz, and Margaret E. Vroman.
Four female professors settle a gender discrimination lawsuit with the NMU College of Business
Four female professors settle a gender discrimination lawsuit with the NMU College of Business(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Northern Michigan University College of Business has settled a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by four female professors in February 2019.

The college paid $1.46 million to professors Claudia L. Hart, Carol S. Steinhaus, Karin M. Stulz, and Margaret E. Vroman as a condition of the pre-trial settlement.

In February 2019, Bloomfield Hills law firm Sterling Attorneys at Law, P.C. filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the four professors alleging they suffered gender discrimination and disparate pay compared to their male colleagues.

This settlement comes about seven weeks before the trial was scheduled to take place in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

As previously reported by TV6 and Fox UP, the lawsuit claims the four plaintiffs were paid ranging from nine percent to more than 70 percent less than their equally-qualified male counterparts.

In a statement, Sterling Attorneys at Law, P.C. attorney Brian Farrar said, “The professors are very pleased with this settlement and hope that it encourages others to stand up for gender equality and fairness in the workplace.”

“We encourage women and men in positions of authority to take a stand and support justice in their workplaces. Individuals struggle to fight injustice alone,” Hart said in a statement.

“We have been fortunate to have friends, family and complete strangers stand by us and our cause for equal pay for equal work. We hope to inspire others to pursue justice,” Stulz said in a statement.

“Although it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to this point, it will all be worth it if it results in positive change in pay and attitudes," Vroman said in a statement.

A statement from Sterling Attorneys said Steinhaus wishes to acknowledge all the wonderful NMU students she has had the pleasure of teaching during her career.

Northern Michigan University administrators said in a statement:

NMU is pleased to have reached a voluntary and amicable settlement with four former college of business faculty. The settlement allows the university to move ahead in the best interest of the students. NMU wishes the faculty well in their retirements.

To the extent the faculty members' lawyer intends to imply that the settlement could be viewed as evidence of any wrongdoing by NMU, NMU would like to point out that each of the faculty members expressly agreed to the following statement: “The Parties acknowledge, represent, and agree that this Agreement is not intended to be, and shall not be construed as, an admission of fault or liability, to any extent whatsoever, by any Party.”

All NMU faculty salaries are set according to collective bargaining agreements with the faculty union.  “Northern Michigan University is committed to equity and inclusiveness, two integral components at the core of who we are as a community,” said President Fritz Erickson.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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