A jury voted in favor of two women who sued Virginia Tech for paying them less than their male counterparts.
Thursday's ruling in Roanoke's U.S. District Court awarded Shana Maron — formerly known as Shana Kennedy before a divorce — and Greta Hanes $25,000 and $15,000 in back pay, respectively, under the Equal Pay Act.
These amounts could be doubled if Tech fails to prove it acted in good faith when determining the women’s salaries. A date for that hearing has not been set.
Maron was also awarded $61,000, which is roughly one years pay, because she proved Tech retaliated against her when she complained about a pay disparity.
Erin Hofberg’s claim based on the EPA was time barred.
Nicholas Woodfield, lead attorney for the Maron case, said after the jury heard the evidence, it found that Tech couldn’t demonstrate that gender wasn’t a factor when determining the plaintiffs’ salaries.
Mark Owczarski, director of university relations, said Tech finds the ruling disappointing and unfortunate.
“It is our principle and practice to treat all employees with respect within a supportive environment,” Owczarski said.
Owczarski also said the university has not decided whether it will appeal the verdict.
According to the case files, Maron was hired as an assistant director of university development in March 2006. She later worked in the same position for development in engineering. Her annual salary was $49,000.
When Maron applied for a regional director position in 2007, she told Robert Bailey, the senior director of regional gifts for university development she expected a $68,500 annual salary. Field Glover, the male who last held the position, started at that amount.
The case files said Bailey offered Maron a $48,000 annual salary, and told her she was not worth the same as Glover because she was a woman.
Hanes was a regional director of major gifts from October 2006 to April 2008. Her annual salary was $53,500.
According to the files, the plaintiff’s male counterparts, Justin Mosby, Benjamin Grove, James Grove and Christopher Lawson, were paid $55,000, $61,000, $63,000 and $67,000 annual salaries upon hire, respectively.