Spencer v. Va. State Univ. (P)

The district court properly granted summary judgment to Virginia State University as to a professor’s claim that she was paid less because of her sex and then retaliated against for complaining.

The plaintiff earned about $70,000 per year — a median salary when compared to the male professors in her department. But she proposes comparing her pay to that of two former university administrators, who each earned over $100,000 per year as professors in other departments. But unrebutted evidence shows that the university based their higher pay on their prior service as university administrators, not their sex. The university pays administrators 9/12ths of their previous salary. Just as this practice satisfies the Equal Pay Act’s “factor other than sex” affirmative defense, it qualifies as a legitimate, nondiscriminatory explanation under Title VII. The plaintiff supplies no evidence that this explanation is merely a pretext for invidious discrimination.


Spencer v. Va. State Univ. (P), No. 17-2453, Mar. 18, 2019. 4th Cir. (Richardson) from EDVA at Richmond (Hudson).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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