This week marked the end of proceedings in the employment tribunal between Professor Liz Schafer and Royal Holloway. This case is regarding Schafer’s claim that she has been consistently less rewarded for her research and professorial duties in comparison to her male colleagues.
Though the hearing has come to an end a verdict has not yet been reached. On the last day of the trial the judge informed the court that a verdict will not be finalised until March, due to the nature of this trial as a test case.
If Professor Schafer were to be triumphant in her case and the court rules that she has faced wage discrepancy based on gender then this trial would set a precedent for female professors nationwide to examine the equality on their own institutions.
A spokesperson for Royal Holloway said: “The College takes its legal and moral obligations towards equal treatment for all of its staff and students very seriously. Over the last year, the College has been working on a new approach to professorial pay to ensure that all professors are paid fairly according to their contribution in teaching, research and leadership. All professors have now been evaluated using criteria agreed following consultation with the UCU and this will be reflected in their pay from the start of 2011, backdated to August 2010.
“However, although the College did not accept the claim that Professor Schafer received unequal treatment because she is a woman, we do not believe that it is in anyone’s interests to attempt to pre-empt the deliberations of the Employment Tribunal. Accordingly, the College will not be making any comment until the Tribunal reaches its decision next year.”