Official Who Sued University of Tennessee Retires Early - Higher Education
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Official Who Sued University of Tennessee Retires Early

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by Steve Megargee, Associated Press


 

Jenny_Moshak

Jenny Moshak’s suit stated that the University of Tennessee set up a “testosterone wall” that prevented female employees from earning equal pay.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jenny Moshak has retired as Tennessee’s associate director of sports medicine, less than a year after she filed a lawsuit against the university for discrimination and retaliation.

“Due to the overall atmosphere since I raised issues of equality at the University of Tennessee and given the university’s unwillingness to address the issues of discrimination and retaliation, I cannot continue my association with the university’s athletic department,” Moshak said in a statement released Friday by her lawyer, Keith D. Stewart.

Moshak also said in the statement that she took early retirement effective Thursday. Tennessee athletic department spokesman Jimmy Stanton confirmed Moshak’s retirement but declined any further comment.

Moshak, former Tennessee associate strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason and former associate head strength and conditioning coach Collin Schlosser filed a suit in October saying the university set up a “testosterone wall” that prevented female employees from earning equal pay.

The complaint alleges that Moshak, Mason and Schlosser performed similar tasks as the employees who held similar positions for men’s athletic teams, but that they received less compensation either because of their gender or because of their association with women’s teams. The complaint also says Schlosser lost his job, and that Moshak and Mason were demoted and had their staff reduced after each filed a discrimination complaint.

All three plaintiffs no longer work for the university. Mason was fired earlier this year, and school officials cited unsatisfactory job performance as their reason for dismissing her.

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A public records request showed that Stewart sent an email regarding Moshak’s situation on Aug. 1 to Michael Fitzgerald, the lawyer representing the university in this lawsuit. Stewart wrote that Moshak’s work environment had “become increasingly hostile” since the suit was filed and that Mason’s “sudden termination only magnifies the situation.” In the letter, Stewart said Moshak was considering early retirement “to protect her physical and emotional well-being.”

Stewart requested that the university reopen its director of sports medicine position to potential applicants, have a school human resources official from outside the athletic department re-evaluate Moshak’s performance and have the Tennessee Human Rights Commission review the athletic department’s work environment.

Fitzgerald sent a reply Tuesday in which he said the university was “unaware of any harassing or retaliatory behavior” toward Moshak. He said the university denied Stewart’s three requests and noted that Moshak’s most recent evaluation was positive. Fitzgerald wrote that “the university will continue to treat Ms. Moshak the same as if she had never complained.”

Moshak spent 24 years at Tennessee, where she directed all athletic training and rehabilitation for the women’s basketball team.

“I will continue to pursue a career in sports medicine and also continue the fight for equality and justice within athletics,” Moshak said in her statement. “I truly love the Lady Vols. I am honored to be a part of the rich tradition of Lady Vol athletics and even prouder to have supported the physical, mental and emotional development of women in sports and life.”

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One Response to Official Who Sued University of Tennessee Retires Early

  1. This is an issue not just for higher education but the larger business community. It’s surprising and shocking that at this time and age we don’t have properly trained and qualified personnel to handle such sensitive issues as equality – Trust me this issue will end up costing more than University of Tennessee would have bargained for, and at a time when universities are scrambling for student population, I’m not sure how it will fare.

    Julius Mwangi
    August 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm

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