Princeton University has agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million in wages to 106 female professors, to resolve allegations of discrimination in salary and gender pay gap flagged by a compliance review by the US Department of Labor.
Of the total amount, $925,000 would be distributed in back pay, which would include employees that have left the institute and at least $250,000 will be paid in future salary adjustments.
The Department of Labor started an investigation in 2012 as part of a routine compliance procedure and found glaring disparities in the salaries of women in the capacity as full professors to that of their male counterparts, over a period of two years.
“Princeton’s actions did not comply with non-discrimination rules for federal contractors,” said the Department in a statement.
The Ivy League institute based in New Jersey signed the resolution in September, which was announced by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on October 5. Though the University denied the allegations saying the report was “based on a flawed statistical model”, it agreed to avoid a lengthy legal battle.
“Despite our confidence in the merits of our position and our belief that we were (and are) in full compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the law, Princeton agreed to resolve the dispute to avoid lengthy and costly litigation and its impact on the faculty and the University,” University spokesperson Chang said in a statement.
Chang said that the University’s own statistical analyses for the period concerned “found no meaningful pay disparities based on gender.” The University has agreed to introduce ways to ensure equal pay in the future through regular pay reviews and putting women in positions where they have not been adequately represented.
According to a University report, in the 2019-20 session, women comprised 32 percent of the 814 tenured and tenure-track faculty.
The Labor Department was satisfied with the University’s move to reconcile in the matter. OFCCP’s Northeast Regional Director Diana Sen said that Princeton was taking proactive steps to encourage pay equity and enhance diversity to comply with current federal laws.