Wednesday, October 17, 2018
A jury was convinced that American University denied tenure to a professor because of her age, awarding her $1.3 million in damages.
Age discrimination in higher education is “increasingly a problem,” Lynne Bernabei of Bernabei & Kabat PLLC in Washington told Bloomberg Law Oct. 16. She represented Dr. Loubna Hanna at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Given the tight academic job market and economic concerns on campuses, it looks like universities prefer to grant tenure to younger professors who will give their entire careers to a single institution, Bernabei said.
In the AU case, an economist gave a range of dollar amounts to the jury showing the economic damage Hanna experienced from being denied tenure, Bernabei told Bloomberg Law.
The jury found that age was a substantial factor in the decision to deny Hanna’s application for tenure and promotion, according to the verdict form. It awarded Hanna $1,151,000 in compensatory damages and $175,000 in damages for emotional distress, for a total of $1,326,000.
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