Professor sues DU law school for gender bias

| Jul 9, 2021 | discrimination, workplace discrimination

Most plaintiffs in sex discrimination law suits are women, but a male professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law is about to reverse this paradigm. The director of the School’s Center for Advocacy has served a complaint in federal court in Colorado alleging that he has been the object of gender-based discrimination.

The allegations of the complaint

The plaintiff is David Schott, the director of the law school’s trial advocacy program, known as the Center for Advocacy. Schott began teaching at the law school in 2005 as an adjunct professor. In 2008, he accepted a full-time position as a lecturer and the first director at the Center for Advocacy.

The complaint alleges that the pattern of discriminatory behavior began in the summer of 2016 during a meeting with Vera Moffat, the school’s former associate dean. During the meeting, Schott alleges that Moffat said that she did not want to see “any white men teaching anymore in the Center for Advocacy.” The plaintiff says that he reported the statement to the school’s new dean, Bruce Smith. The complaint alleges that after making this report, the plaintiff was “on the receiving end of a series of unjustified adverse actions.” Dean Moffat told the plaintiff that she had received two reports of gender discrimination involving the Center for Advocacy. The plaintiff alleges that he was then told by the university’s Title IX offices that the allegations did not constitute a viable Title IX violation. No further action was taken at the time.

The complaint alleges that former dean Moffat described four instances of sexual discrimination at the Center for Advocacy during the review of Schott’s contract status. Schott denied the truth of each of the complaints, but instead of holding a hearing, the law school convened a review committee that ultimately concluded that Schott’s contract could not be renewed because the committee had been unable to determine whether Schott violated Title IX.

What now?

The case will undoubted go through the preliminary stages of discovery, including interrogatories and document requests. If the case does not settle, the principal parties will be required to sit for depositions. The school has denied the allegations, and it may seek summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

Sex-discrimination cases can be long and stressful. Anyone considering the brining of such a case may wish to consult with an experienced employment lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate the evidence and provide an estimate of the likelihood of success.

 

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