Princeton University has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in back wages to female professors after a review found disparities in compensation between male and female professors, the U.S. Department of Labor said.
The review, which started in 2014 and focused on the wages of female full professors from 2012 to 2014, found that 106 women had been paid less than their male counterparts, according to a statement last week from the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
The university did not admit any wrongdoing, but it agreed to an early resolution conciliation agreement with the federal compliance office on Sept. 30 to “avoid lengthy and costly litigation and its impact on the faculty and the university,” said Ben Chang, the university’s spokesman.
Craig E. Leen, the director of the federal compliance office, said in the Labor Department statement that his agency was “satisfied” that Princeton had agreed to enter into the agreement and address the issues found in its report.
“Early resolution conciliation agreements are an effective tool for contractors to ensure equitable pay to employees, enhance internal salary equity reviews, and proactively correct any disparities uncovered,” he said.
The university has agreed to pay $925,000 in back pay to the 106 female professors who were found to have been inadequately compensated, as well as $250,000 in future salary adjustments, a total of nearly $1.2 million.
According to the most recent data from the Chronicle of Higher Education, female full professors at the university earned about $235,000 in 2018, while men earned $253,000.
But Mr. Chang said that grouping all professors together was a “flawed statistical model” that “bore no resemblance to how the university actually hires, evaluates and compensates its faculty.”
The university conducted its own analysis, comparing full professors by department, which Mr. Chang said was “the correct way” to do it, given that academic disciplines “function as separate labor markets for purposes of hiring and compensation.” Its investigation found no significant pay disparities based on gender, he said.
In addition to the restitution pay, Princeton has agreed to take a number of steps to ensure pay equity in the future, including reviews of faculty salaries at the time of hiring and during annual reviews, actively hiring women in fields where they are traditionally poorly represented and encouraging women to serve in leadership positions.