U of Colorado Boulder settles professor’s retaliation suit

The University of Colorado at Boulder has settled a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit that one of its law professors filed against it.

In June, Paul Campos sued the university and Lolita Buckner Inniss, the law school’s dean, in federal court. Campos alleged he was paid less than his white colleagues because he’s Latino, that he received a low rating from his department in 2021 for taking paternity leave and that the university retaliated against him for complaining.

“The response to these complaints of discrimination reflects classic—and illegal—retaliation,” his amended complaint said. “Dean Inniss, in writing, explained to Professor Campos that she was stripping him of an especially valuable committee assignment because he had reported discrimination and asserted his legal rights.”

A Boulder spokeswoman provided a settlement agreement, signed by Campos Saturday and the university Monday, in which the university denies wrongdoing. It says the university will pay $160,000. Of that, $60,000 will go to Campos and $100,000 to the law firm that represented him.

The settlement agreement also says that “while Dean Inniss continues to serve as Dean of the Law School, the Provost of the University of Colorado Boulder will assign a different person to supervise [Campos] with respect to any matters where a direct supervisor’s involvement is necessary.”

Campos told Inside Higher Ed that Inniss’s removal as his supervisor for “her hopefully short tenure as dean” was the most critical part of the settlement for him. He said that “Employment Law 101 is do not retaliate against someone who is complaining about being discriminated against.”

Inniss deferred comment to Boulder spokesperson Nicole Mueksch, who said, “We were able to come to very clear terms on the settlement that seemed to work well for both parties.”

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