This particular conflict began with three lawsuits in the Superior Court of California County of San Diego separately filed last summer by female professors at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Plaintiffs describe alleged systemic discrimination against women in the areas of pay, job promotions and access to opportunities.
These lawsuits have led to a professor at the institute being put on temporary leave of his job as editor of the renowned Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal as of Jan. 1. He was asked to step aside by the NAS Council.
The professor was named in one of the lawsuits (Lunblad v. Salk Institute for Biological Studies) as someone at Salk who made it challenging for women to succeed. For his part, he has denied culpability and says the lawsuits have nothing to do with his work at the journal, according to an article from The San Diego Union Tribune.According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sec. 2000e-2:
“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
While this text seems clear and obvious, our workplace gender discrimination lawyers in Orange County know that oftentimes discrimination practices are so ingrained in the way people function in the workplace that it may be unclear when those lines are being crossed, even by the victims of the discrimination. That is why it is so important to consult with legal professionals like ours if you suspect you are being treated unfairly on the job based on your gender. Such illegal actions can derails your career for years to come if you do not have the right counsel guiding you as soon as possible.
Among opportunities plaintiffs claimed were not readily accessible to women at the institute were equal access to grant money and donors. The lawsuits allege women have been used in marketing to entice donors but have not reaped the benefits of those donations as much as men at the institute.
The president of the Salk Institute, a female, has denied all allegations. However, she said she plans to retire in the summer after 2.5 years in the job, along with the chairman of the board of trustees, who also announced he would retire. Both announcements were unexpected.
The professor who stepped down has been a revered biologist at the institute since the 1970s, with many accomplishments under his belt, including research that aided in the advancement of gene therapy in the preemptive treatment of cancer. He has been editor of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences since 2011 and runs a genetic lab.
Such achievements, however, do not put anyone above the law, and it is our hope the truth will come to light as these lawsuits take their course.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Renowned Salk Scientist Loses Top Post Due to Gender Discrimination Lawsuits, Dec. 27, 2017, By Gary Robbins, The San Diego Union-Tribune
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Lawsuit Against Google Raises Questions of Gender Discrimination in California, Oct. 4, 2017, Gender Discrimination Lawyer Blog