Suzuki v. State Univ. of New York College at Old Westbury


New York Law Journal

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Judge Thomas Platt

New York-resident Suzuki—of Japanese and Brazilian descent—was a visiting professor at SUNY Old Westbury's (SUNY-OW) Department of Mathematics, Computer Information Sciences (CIS), from 2005 until Aug. 13, 2008, when she was terminated after filing discrimination charges with the EEOC. Suzuki failed to state a claim for relief on discrimination charges under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) on behalf of herself and "all female professors employed by SUNY-OW's Department of Mathematics/CIS academic year 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 because they were paid less than males." Despite ample discovery, she identified no male departmental faculty members with similar experience earning more for substantially the same work. Further, unlike Rule 23 class actions requiring potential plaintiffs to opt out, EPA plaintiffs must expressly opt in to a case by written notice pursuant to 29 USC §216(b). The collective EPA claim was also time barred by at least two years under 29 USC §255(a). In dismissing Suzuki's EPA retaliation claim the court noted that her amended complaint, filed after substantial discovery, did not allege that she complained to anyone that she was being paid less than her male colleagues for substantially similar work.

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