Skip to comments.University of Iowa must pay $1.4 million to Jane Meyer
Posted on 05/05/2017 8:51:19 AM PDT by safetysign
Finding the University of Iowa discriminated against a former athletics administrator based on her gender and sexual orientation, a Polk County jury Thursday awarded Jane Meyer $1.43 million, according to her legal team.
Meyer, 57, a former UI associate athletics director who worked for the department from 2001 to 2014, sued the UI, the Iowa Board of Regents and the state for discrimination. She also alleged the UI retaliated against her when she complained about the Aug. 4, 2014, firing of her longtime partner, Tracey Griesbaum, as the UIs head field hockey coach.
This is much bigger than me, Meyer said in a phone interview with The Gazette. This is for anyone who has faced discrimination anywhere to stand up and say What is going on is wrong. Stand up and point it out because this stuff should not be happening to women, gays, people of color anyone.
The jury of five women and three men returned with a unanimous verdict before 3:30 p.m. after deliberating for more than eight hours, according to Meyers attorneys, Jill Zwagerman and Tom Newkirk.
The jury found in favor of Meyer on all five of her claims: gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation, equal pay violation and whistleblower violation, the law firm reported.
The UI released a short statement Thursday: The university is disappointed by the jurys decision.
When asked whether the UI planned to appeal, spokeswoman Jeneane Beck declined to comment further.
The verdict was delivered in a sealed envelope to the judge, so there was no announcement in open court. The paperwork had not yet been posted on Iowa Courts Online by Thursday evening, but Zwagerman said Judge Michael Huppert called the attorneys involved with the news.
Meyer was required to prove her case by a preponderance of the evidence, a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt used in criminal cases. Preponderance of the evidence means a plaintiffs case must be more convincing than not for jurors to decide in her favor.
During the high-profile trial, dozens of witnesses painted a picture of a Hawkeye athletic department in conflict.
Witnesses included Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta, Football Coach Kirk Ferentz, Wrestling Coach Tom Brands, Baseball Coach Rick Heller and womens Basketball Coach Lisa Bluder, among others.
Meyer said Barta had a double standard for male and female coaches, couldnt tolerate opposition and failed to investigate Meyers complaints about gender equity.
Several of the UI witnesses said the conflict in the department actually was caused by Meyer, and ended when Barta transferred her out in December 2014. LIKE WHAT YOU'RE READING? We make it easy to stay connected:
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Meyer was shifted to a position in UI facilities, but her job was eliminated Sept. 9.
These are really hard to win, Newkirk said of sexual orientation and gender discrimination lawsuits. He called the verdict a landmark that would pave the way for other women.
The $1.43 million award includes $374,000 in lost wages, $444,000 for past emotional stress and $612,000 for future emotional stress.
Meyers attorneys plan to file post-trial motions seeking another $2 million from the UI, Zwagerman said. These will include a motion asking the judge to decide whether the UI should give Meyer her job back or pay Meyer front pay for lost wages until she reaches retirement.
Because the jury found the UIs actions were willful, Meyer may ask to have her back pay tripled.
The UI Athletic Departments budget this year is more than $100 million, none of it funded with taxes or tuition.
The verdict may affect a second employment discrimination lawsuit filed against the UI by Griesbaum, Newkirk said. That case is scheduled for trial June 5 in Polk County.
Meyer also has a federal lawsuit against the UI alleging her First Amendment rights were violated. That trial is set for June 2018.
Meyer and Griesbaum have moved to Des Moines, Meyer testified earlier this week. Unable to get other athletics jobs, Meyer said shes applied for jobs at Lowes and Home Depot.
I dont know what my future is, she had said Tuesday.
Two days later, she said hopes the verdict would help her return to athletics.
Im willing to work with anyone who wants to create an environment in athletics that is striving for male and female equality, she said.
From an older article:
“The relationship between senior associate athletics director Jane Meyer and coach Tracey Griesbaum has come under scrutiny following Griesbaum’s firing in August over allegations of player mistreatment. At least one parent of a former player and one professor have claimed that the couple’s relationship created the perception that complaints about Griesbaum’s coaching would be ignored.” http://www.hawkcentral.com/story/sports/college/iowa/field-hockey/2014/10/30/jane-meyer-tracey-griesbaum-confirm-decade-long-relationship/18188297/
Nice wig fella!
She accused a white male.
She sued a government institution (Big Pockets!)
She is a lesbian on campus.
Why would think she “could possibly” lose?
“The UI Athletic Departments budget this year is more than $100 million, none of it funded with taxes or tuition.”
Isn’t this a travesty! Why in the hell should a public university have a “privately funded” athletic department? These departments should be pared back to support the students, not be a “farm team” for the various “professional sports” franchises.
You have to begin to wonder just what the “value” to the universities the whole intercollegiate sports nonsense is. Institutions of higher learning consider sports “higher learning?”
Lesson learned. Easy to hire hard to fire. Weed them out before hiring.
Yup and the paper and public at large generally don’t have access to information presented to the jury who render the decision. Do juries get it wrong? Sure, it is imperfect. However if we question every judgement we may not like than we no longer have confidence in our judiciary. If that becomes the predominant theme across the public at large then society as we know it has ended
Very true and I bet the AD wishes he could have done that. Given the 13-year tenure of Meyer, I bet the AD came along after her and couldn’t do anything about it. The way this was handled was totally ham-handed and transparent in its inequity. This especially applies to the job transfer then the job elimination. The dumbass who thought they’d get away with that tactic ought to be fired forthwith.
All their resumes go strait in the trash in any sane company.
Ditto for those whose name sounds like it was chosen randomly from a Zimbabwe phone book. Just a lawsuit looking for a place to happen.
AD Barta is a drooling moron who loves mediocrity, and the university Administration itself was on the lesbo’s side. Surprised they didn’t settle out of court for even more!
My alma mater..it saddens me. Has changed a wee tiny bit since 1961. Greedy vicious dykes.
Another pervert cashes in on her perversion.
Behold, Romans 1:32 continues to play out before our very eyes.
John 16:8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
God has given this world to Satan and Christians who think we can win this world for Christ are sadly stoned.
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