On July 19, the University of California agreed to pay a former UC Berkeley women’s swim coach $3.5 million to settle her gender-discrimination claim.
Karen Moe Humphreys, an Olympic gold medalist who was a 26-year employee of the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, argued that she was laid off while less qualified males were hired and retained without regard for the university’s seniority system.
Humphreys claimed she was laid off to prevent her from being considered for the new position of assistant athletic director “because she is a woman, and because she is strong and assertive and had spoken out in support of women’s rights and against gender discrimination.”
Under the settlement, the university agreed to reinstate Humphreys until January 2008, when she will retire with the full pay and the benefits due a 30-year employee. The university denied Humphreys’ allegations and stated that it decided to settle the case as a result of a number of adverse rulings as the court considered pretrial issues.