Patricia MacCorquodale, an ex-dean at the University of Arizona, filed a lawsuit against the institution, alleging she was severely underpaid compared to her male colleagues.
MacCorquodale frequently talked about the pay gap during performance reviews after she was appointed as dean in 1999. Her requests were mostly ignored except for in 2007, when she received a $17,033 salary increase.
According to the lawsuit, MacCorquodale made $162,750 in 2016 while male deans at the university made $320,212 on average. When the university removed her as dean that year, she was replaced by a male who made almost $70,000 more than she did.
During her last year at the university, MacCorquodale was in charge of 35 employees and managed a $3.7 million budget.
“Dr. MacCorquodale is an icon in the U of A community because of her dedication to her students and to the Honors College. The university took advantage of her dedication by grossly underpaying her compared to her male counterparts. And when they got tired of her complaints about pay equity, they responded by getting rid of her as dean,” her attorney James E. Richardson said.
The lawsuit says that other female deans at the university earn less than their male counterparts. It also claims UA Provost Andrew Comrie has made sexist and demeaning comments towards female deans in the past. He allegedly told one female dean to wear short skirts more often and went on to tell her that another female dean had a Hillary Clinton complex.
When Comrie found out about the accusations, he said that they were completely untrue. He also stepped down from his position to return to his faculty position.
University spokesman Chris Sigurdson that has nothing to do with MacCorquodale’s lawsuit.
“I can officially say that there is absolutely no connection between Provost Comrie’s decision to return to the faculty and the lawsuit,” Sigurdson said.
MacCorquodale demands $2 million in back pay and damages. She still works at the university as a women’s studies professor.
This isn’t the first time a university has been accused of paying its female employees less than its male employees. In December, Kay Xanthakos, a chief architect with the City University of New York, filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming she earns less than her male colleagues who have less education and experience.
In the lawsuit, Xanthakos says she earned $11,000 less than a former underling who isn’t a licensed architect. One of her other male coworkers is a director of construction and earns $33,000 more than her, despite not having a college degree.
Xanthakos has complained frequently about the unfair pay practices, but has been ignored. Her supervisor has, however, reduced her job responsibilities and left her out of meetings and projects.
She wants the court to promote her to a higher position and pay her the money would have earned if she was granted promotions.