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Women Scientists File Class-Action Sex Discrimination Suit

Six women filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Livermore National Laboratory’s 3,000+ women employees, charging sex discrimination in hiring and promotion there.

Livermore National Laboratory is operated together by the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California and produces research on global security, global ecology, and biological science.

The six women filing the lawsuit have each worked at the Lab for more than 10 years each and charge that they earn between $1,000 and $2,000 less per month than their male peers, that the men they supervised earned more money than they did, as did other men with lower educational levels. They further charged that this blatant pay inequity is typical in the Lab. They also charge that Lab director Bruce Tarter and other officials were unresponsive to their complaints and disinterested in their charges of discrimination. “This lawsuit was a last resort for us,” stated plaintiff Mary Singleton.

The pending lawsuit seeks the repayment of all lost wages and new hiring and promotion policies which will ensure gender equity. Attorneys for the plaintiffs estimate the six women will win about $250,000 in back pay alone if they prevail in the lawsuit, and that total damages for all 3,000 women employees could approach $500 million.

Sources:

Wired and Reuters - December 23, 1998

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