Court rules UT law professor can continue with suit claiming law school paid male colleagues more than her

Claire Stevens, News Reporter

Law professor Linda Mullenix will continue her case against the University with claims that they paid her less than male colleagues, after a district judge ruled that the case could move forward on Friday. 

David Alan Ezra, a United States district judge, allowed Mullenix’s claim that UT-Austin had violated the federal Equal Pay Act to move forward to trial. A magistrate judge had recommended the court rule in favor of UT against claims that the University had violated both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, the section of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion and national origin, without going to trial. Ezra’s order only dismissed Mullenix’s Title VII claim. 

Mullenix’s attorney, Colin Walsh, said they were looking forward to the opportunity to make their case in trial.

“We are very pleased that the distinct court did not dismiss the case entirely and rejected the magistrate’s recommendation to do that very thing,” Walsh said. “While we are, of course, disappointed that Title VII is not going to trial, we are looking forward to presenting the Equal Pay Act claim to a jury.”

Walsh said they have not yet decided whether or not they will appeal the Title VII decision.

Mullenix originally filed her suit in 2019 and claims that she was discriminated against on the basis of sex with several male colleagues who were doing comparable work but being paid more than Mullenix. In the lawsuit, Mullenix claimed that over the course of three years, she was paid $134,449 less than male professor Robert Bone, who had similar teaching evaluation but fewer publications and years of teaching experience.

The University declined to comment on the ruling.

The trial date will be set by a separate order, though Walsh said he anticipates the trial will be sometime this year.

“We intend to present the facts to a jury showing that several male professors are paid substantially more than Professor Mullenix for doing substantially similar jobs and that she should be given equal pay for equal work,” Walsh said. “We think the facts are very strongly on our side, and we look forward to the opportunity.”