Tuesday 23 July 2019

Lecturer to use €70,000 compensation to help others overlooked for university positions

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington
Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

Caroline Crawford

A lecturer who was awarded €70,000 after taking a case against NUI, Galway will use her compensation to help other colleagues overlooked by the university.

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington took a successful case that she had been discriminated on grounds of gender. The Equality Tribunal ruled that the college must pay her €70,000.

In its ruling the Tribunal also raised the case of other women lecturers in the university who had been deemed eligible for Senior Lecturer in 2009 but were turned down. It said there had been direct and indirect discrimination gender discrimination.

Case

Five of these lecturers, Dr Roisin Healey, Dr Elizabeth Tilley, Dr Adrienne Gorman, Dr Sylvie Lannegrand and Dr Margaret Hodgins are now calling on the university to review their cases.

“We had all gone for promotion and were unsuccessful and we were very surprised to read then in the report that there was discrimination against women and against people with any kind of caring responsibilities which in this case was all women,” said Dr Healey.

“We’re getting legal advice, we’d like for the university to make good on the pledge to promote gender equality on campus and we think this would be a very good step. The Equality Tribunal has ordered the university to report back to them on the progress that they have made in the year and we would hope this would hope that this would be a great beginning to it by addressing our situation,” she added.

The group will now meet with university president Dr Jim Browne and are awaiting a date for that meeting. The matter will also be raised at the next meeting of the governing authority later this month.

Dr Sheehy Skeffington said she would now use the €70,000 awarded to her to help other colleagues overlooked by the university if needs be.

“I took my action to help other women and not just for myself so now I want to help them,” she said.

Read more: NUIG told to pay lecturer €70,000 for gender bias

Last month the equality tribunal ordered that the university should promote Dr Sheehy Skeffington and back date her salary to 2009. It also awareded her €70,000 compensation.

Steps

A statement from NUI, Galway President Dr Jim Browne said the university views the issue of gender equality very seriously and was taking immediate steps to implement the Tribunal’s findings which is accepts ‘unreservedly’.

“The University initiated a major review of its senior lecturer promotion procedures, following which the University introduced a new promotion scheme. The University was proactive in encouraging female applications to that scheme and was also prepared to take affirmative action to address gender under-representation should there be a need. This scheme resulted in 28 promotions, over one third of which were promotions of female staff members,” he said.

The university is also setting up a task force to review its practices with regard to gender equality and Dr Sheehy-Skeffington has volunteered to work with the university to improve its policies and procedures.

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