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Chapman University Settles EEOC Sex Discrimination Case for $175,000

Female  Film Department Professor Denied Promotion Because of Gender, Federal  Agency Charged

LOS ANGELES — Chapman University, a  private university in Orange, Calif., will pay $175,000 and furnish other  relief to settle a federal charge of sex discrimination filed with the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced  today. 

Since 1999, Lynn Hamrick worked as  an assistant professor in Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media  Arts (DCFMA).  Hamrick alleged that in  2007 she was denied tenure – a promotion to the position of associate professor  – because she is a woman.  The denial of  tenure was appealed to Chapman University’s grievance committee, which ruled in  Hamrick’s favor.  The decision, however,  was vacated by Chapman’s Senate Executive Board, prompting the 2008 filing of Hamrick’s  EEOC discrimination charge. 

After an EEOC investigation, the  district director of EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office determined that there  was reasonable cause to believe that Chapman’s decision to deny tenure to  Hamrick was linked to her sex, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act.   Chapman denied the allegations of  sex discrimination and did not admit to liability while agreeing to settle the  matter.

Following the EEOC’s determination,  Chapman University entered into a one-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC  and Hamrick.  The agreement effectively  settles the case administratively, thereby avoiding litigation.  Aside from the $175,000 in monetary relief  for Hamrick, Chapman University agreed to administer a promotion for Hamrick to  the position of associate professor for purposes of future employment, given  that Hamrick has since left the university.   Chapman further agreed to provide live training on sex discrimination,  including harassment and retaliation, to all employees of the DCFMA, along with  additional training for all supervisors and managers.  Chapman University also agreed to create a  toll-free hotline for DCFMA; post a notice on the matter; report future  instances of discrimination to the EEOC; and publicize the settlement via press  release. 

“Sex discrimination is the third  most frequent type of complaint we see across the country,” said Olophius  Perry, district director for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.  “Prevention is the key to ensuring equal  opportunities at work for both women and men.    We are pleased that Chapman University will implement extensive measures  to protect employees’ rights.”

Founded in 1861, Chapman University  is a private, non-profit university with programs in seven schools and  colleges, and an enrollment of approximately 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and  law students. 

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further  information about the EEOC is available on its web site at