PETERSBURG, Va. (AP/WRIC) — Four female Virginia State University employees filed suits today against the school over gender-based pay inequities and accusations of sexual harassment.
Reports say separate lawsuits have been filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Deborah Goodwyn, Zoe Spencer, Sandra Evans and Bridget Wilson.
Evans and Wilson say they were victims of unwanted sexual advances and harassment by former school employee Dr. Michael Shackleford.
“Bridget Wilson’s case is a little bit different because she refused to engage in a relationship, and the woman that did go ahead and engage in a relationship with her supervisor got promoted over her,” Attorney Colleen Quinn said.
Shackleford is also included in lists of male colleagues earning higher salaries in the lawsuits by Goodwyn and Spencer.
Shackleford left VSU on Dec. 31 after serving as vice president for student affairs and then as a professor.
Quinn said that in some cases, the women were paid up to $50,000 less than their male counterparts, while being sexually harassed and retaliated against for speaking up.
“All four women really love VSU. They love the school, they love the students, and they just want to see things fixed so that there is pay equity across the board and that women professors are not being treated differently than male professors.” Quinn said.
VSU spokeswoman Gwen Williams said in a statement that the university is committed to providing a fair working environment for all employees.
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