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Princeton University Pays Female Professors $1.2 Million for Wage Gap

Princeton University agreed to pay $1.2 million to its female professors, settling a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) review into a gender-based wage gap at the school.

The university entered into an early resolution conciliation agreement on 30 September. As part of the agreement, it will give $925,000 in back pay to 106 female professors and make salary adjustments for the next five years of at least $50,000 per year, amounting to a minimum of $250,000.

According to the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), its review found that Princeton violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

The office specifically claimed that the wage inequity occurred between 2012 and 2014 where 106 female full professors were paid less than their male peers. The review of staff wages began in 2014.

The university denied committing any transgressions under the OFCCP’s jurisdiction and asserted that the OFCCP’s review was based on a flawed analysis. A Princeton spokesman said the school agreed to the settlement to avoid a prolonged and expensive lawsuit that could impact the school and its faculty, according to The New York Times.

“Early resolution conciliation agreements are an effective tool for contractors to ensure equitable pay to employees, enhance internal salary equity reviews, and proactively correct any disparities uncovered,” OFCCP director Craig E. Leen said.

Along with equally distributing the back pay to the 106 female professors, the university also said it would “take steps to ensure its compensation practices meet legal requirements and conduct statistical analyses to determine if any significant disparities exist against female full professors,” according to the agreement. “Princeton also agreed to conduct pay equity training for all individuals involved in compensation decisions for full professors, including the consideration of factors that may result in pay disparities.”

The school also agreed to conduct a salary equity review of full professors at the university in the spring/summer of 2021, the first of five annual salary analyses.