The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


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Photo of Dr. Lawford Goddard receiving his settlement check from EEOC Attorney Linda Ordonio-Dixon


Federal Agency Obtains $50,000 for SFSU Lecturer Denied Position Due to His Age

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California State University System (CSUS) has agreed to settle an age discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a longtime San Francisco State University Lecturer for $50,000 and other relief, the agency announced today.

This settlement resolved the EEOC’s lawsuit charging that the state’s largest university system discriminated against Dr. Lawford Goddard because of his age. Goddard was age 61 in the spring of 2004 when he applied for an assistant professor position in the Black Studies Department of the College of Ethnic Studies at SFSU. He had taught there as a lecturer for more than 15 years. The EEOC’s investigation showed that despite over 30 years of teaching experience at various Bay Area colleges and universities and a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1976, Goddard was passed over for a much younger candidate who had not yet received his Ph.D., a requirement for the position.

Age discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects people aged 40 and older from employment discrimination. The EEOC filed this suit only after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through conciliation.

Under the agreement (EEOC v. California State University Board of Trustees d/b/a San Francisco State University, Civil Action No. C 08-2772) approved by U.S. District Court Judge William H Alsup, the California State University System will pay Goddard $50,000 and grant him “emeritus status,” which gives him the benefits and amenities enjoyed by retired tenured faculty at San Francisco State University. In addition to the monetary payment, the university system will also conduct trainings on age discrimination in hiring.

Goddard, who retired from SFSU in 2004, said, “I enjoyed teaching at San Francisco State and am pleased that this matter could be resolved in a fair and reasonable manner. I thank the EEOC for pressing for my rights.”

EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, "This settlement sets out measures to educate the CSUS workforce regarding age discrimination and also recognizes Dr. Goddard’s contributions by raising him to emeritus status. We are pleased that the California State University System worked with the Commission to reach a fair resolution of this case.”

EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, “As the population gets older, it becomes more and more important that employers ensure that their hiring decisions do not discriminate on the basis of age.”

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

For a photo of Dr. Lawford Goddard receiving his settlement check from EEOC Attorney Linda Ordonio-Dixon (3.54MB .jpg file), please email

This page was last modified on June 19, 2009.

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