Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Legal writing professor alleges contract not renewed due to age and gender bias


According to Law.com, legal writing professor Rosanne Piatt has filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC alleging that St. Mary's School of Law declined to renew her annual contract due to age and gender discrimination.   Professor Piatt's annual contract has been renewed every year since 1999 until April 1, 2008, when the school notified her that it would not renew the contract again. "I was given no reason for the non-renewal of my contract," she alleges in her charge.  Professor Piatt also says she would like her job back.

There's a bit of a back-story to all of this:

In the charge, which Piatt filed in November 2008, she alleges her belief that St. Mary's law school has discriminated against her because of her age and gender. She is 57 years old.

'If you're an older female at St. Mary's, you're at risk,' Piatt alleges in an interview. ...

Piatt believes St. Mary's law school may have decided not to renew her contract as a retaliatory action. She alleges a belief that St. Mary's retaliated against her because her husband Bill Piatt, former dean of the law school, filed a charge of discrimination against the school with the EEOC on April 26, 2007. The basis of Bill Piatt's charge of discrimination, according to his wife's filing with the EEOC, was that St. Mary's law school removed him as dean and from a prestigious professorship 'because he had opposed discrimination against St. Mary's University female African American faculty members and prospective faculty members, and he opposed discrimination against minority students and applicants.' ...

Matthew Pearson, a partner in San Antonio's Gravely & Pearson who represented Bill Piatt before the EEOC, says St. Mary's settled with Bill Piatt in May or June of 2007. The settlement is confidential, Pearson says.

Rosanne Piatt alleges in her charge of discrimination, 'The non-renewal of my contract occurred on the first renewal cycle after my husband's charge was filed.' In an interview, she says, 'I'm sort of collateral damage in all of this.'

One question that comes to mind is:  why is the legal writing community hearing about this for the first time from the TaxProf blog?  And what are we doing to help her?  Like the Marines, we don't leave our wounded behind.  Professor Piatt, if you're reading this and need our help, let us know and we'll spread the word.  Semper Fi.

I am the scholarship dude.


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