Jury finds discrimination but only by the institution, which cannot be held liable under the law
In a confusing series of events, a University of Iowa law professor lost her case for political discrimination because jurors misunderstood the law as to who could be liable. Only the Dean was named because under law the institution could not be liable. Interviews with jurors indicate that the jurors didn’t understand that point, and believed there was disrimination but felt (incorrectly) that the wrong person (the Dean) had been named.
There are motions for a new trial, but regardless of the outcome, the case sheds like on the hostility among law faculty towards conservative candidates.
Following up on my previous posts (links below) about Teresa Wagner’s federal lawsuit: Des Monies Register, Jurors Say They Saw Hiring Bias at University of Iowa; But University, Not Former Law Dean, Wronged Conservative Job Applicant:
A federal jury believed the University of Iowa’s law school illegally denied a promotion to a conservative Republican because of her politics, former jurors told The Des Moines Register.
However, jurors said they felt conflicted about holding a former dean personally responsible for the bias. They wanted to hold the school itself accountable, but federal law does not recognize political discrimination by institutions. “I will say that everyone in that jury room believed that she had been discriminated against,” said Davenport resident Carol Tracy, the jury forewoman.
Meanwhile, attorneys for Teresa Wagner on Tuesday filed a motion for a new trial in the case that scholars agree could have national implications in what some argue is the liberally slanted world of academia.
Further down in the Des Moine Register article, the depth of hostility to conservatives was revealed:
Court documents and testimony show a less-qualified candidate was hired for the job in 2007 and that the law school’s associate dean, Jon Carlson, had written an email in which he expressed concern that the faculty might be opposed to Wagner’s application “because they so despise her politics” and activism.
Jurors Agree: University of Iowa Law School Discriminated Against Faculty Applicant Due to Her Conservative Views (TaxProf Blog)