University of Arizona Gender Discrimination Class Action

Case name: Miranda v. Arizona Board of Regents

Case type: Gender Discrimination

Filed in: U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Case no.: 4:18-cv-00576

Case Summary

In November 2018, Sanford Heisler Sharp and co-counsel Merle Joy Turchik of Turchik Law Firm, PC filed a $20 million class action lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of female science professors at the University of Arizona, alleging gender discrimination in pay and promotions, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”).

The Plaintiff and class representative, Dr. Katrina Miranda, is a tenured professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Sciences. The Complaint alleged that despite Dr. Miranda’s strong performance and service to the University, the University underpaid her by at least tens of thousands of dollars compared to her male colleagues. According to the Complaint, the University had denied Dr. Miranda and other women in her Department a raise since at least 2011, while providing significant raises to their male colleagues. And, in 2016, the Dean of the College of Science and Provost of the University denied Dr. Miranda’s promotion to full professor despite recommendations from the head of her department and other college faculty.

The Complaint alleged that gender discrimination was part of a pattern at the University and in the College of Sciences, where female scientists were denied equal access to institutional resources such as research assistants and professional mentors. In the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Complaint noted, 50% of associate professors were female while only 12.5% were full professors. The Complaint also alleged that the University retaliated against those who complained about discrimination. For Dr. Miranda, this included attempts to reduce her laboratory space, crucial to a chemist.

In 2019, the parties reached a settlement in the case.

Attorneys Involved in the Case