The University of Oregon has said that Jennifer Freyd, longtime professor of psychology, may accept the retirement incentive package offered to many of her colleagues — without having to drop to her ongoing pay-based gender discrimination lawsuit. Previously, the university said Freyd was subject to a clause that retirees release the university from all liability. Freyd shared the news this week with her colleagues.
Individual professors and groups who supported Freyd in her lawsuit applauded the shift. Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, said in statement, “Demanding that Prof. Freyd give up her legal claims challenging pay discrimination as a condition of early retirement is nothing short of retaliation. This is precisely why women fear coming forward to assert their civil rights.”
The university said in a statement that President Michael Schill recently asked Oregon’s general counsel to examine how many potential recipients of the retirement incentive had active litigation claims against the university. As Freyd was the only potential retiree with such a claim, Schill instructed the general counsel to “modify the waiver to allow any program participant to preserve litigation claims against the UO that had already been initiated. This decision simply means that the university is avoiding any potential inequitable impact on Prof. Freyd with respect to how the early retirement incentive is structured.”