The dance is over for Marymount Manhattan College.
The EEOC has announced that Marymount, a private liberal arts college in New York City, has settled a lawsuit filed by EEOC alleging that it refused to hire a choreography instructor for a tenure-track assistant professorship because of her age.
The EEOC prosecution appeared to be the first salvo by the EEOC in the war against rampant age discrimination in higher education.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Marymount passed over a 64-year-old applicant for an assistant professorship in dance composition who had been working at Marymount, and instead hired a 38-year-old applicant. The suit charged that this violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits age discrimination against employees and job applicants who are age 40 or older.
By the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, Marymount agreed to pay $125,000 to Patricia Catterson. Further, it agrees to comply with the requirements of the ADEA. The decree also requires monitoring and training on anti-discrimination law. The decree will last for four years.
Marymount initially selected Ms. Catterson and two other applicants as finalists for an assistant professorship in dance composition. After determining that the Ms. Catterson was the leading candidate, Marymount’s search committee expanded its search to include the less qualified younger applicant as a fourth finalist because it considered her to be “at the right moment of her life for commitment to a full-time position.”
New York District Director EEOC Kevin Berry said, “Under the law, age has no place in making hiring decisions – and tenure-track positions in academia are no exception.
Ms. Catterson had been teaching as an adjunct professor in MMC’s Dance Department for 10 years. She had also been on the faculty of The Juilliard School, Princeton University, and Manhattanville College.