A professor at Camden College, William T. Lavell (66), filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey college for racial discrimination. This came after the professor discovered that two black colleagues earn at least $45,000 more than him despite having similar qualifications.
The chemistry professor filed his lawsuit on Friday after discovering the pay gap under the state's public records law.
In the lawsuit, Lavell argues that despite "similar tenure, qualifications, and experience", black engineering professors Melvin Roberts and Lawrence Chatman earn more than him.
Lavell has been a professor at the college for 26 years, while his colleagues, Roberts, has more than 31 years of experience there and Chatman, 30 years. According to state's public records, Lavell’s salary in 2021 is $91,923, Roberts' is $137,157 and Chatman's is $142,606. According to the case, Lavell, is now seeking more than $150,000 in damages.
A spokesperson for Camden College stated that "Camden County College does not comment on pending litigation."
The case argues that, even though Lavell’s time at the college is a couple years shorter than his colleagues, Lavell still has more "professional degrees in his field of concentration" than the two other professors.
Lavell professional degrees are, a chemistry degree from Ursinus College, an MA analytical chemistry from Villanova University, and a Ph.D in organic chemistry from Princeton University.
According to online records, Chatman has obtained an electrical engineering degree from Rutgers, an MBA from University of Pittsburgh and a Doctor of Education from Wilmington University.
Roberts' qualifications were not immediately available.
Lavell did file a formal complaint last November with college President, Donald Borden, and other senior staff. This included a "comparative analysis of the racial disparities in compensation between himself and similarly situated, non-Caucasian counterparts".
However, even though Lavell filed a complaint, the Vice President, Kathleen Kane, is alleged to have "failed and refused to investigate or address plaintiff Lavell’s complaint of race discrimination".
Jamison Mark, an employment lawyer, stated that "The laws for discrimination are there for a reason. Whether you’re white, black or brown, it doesn’t matter, you can’t be treated unfairly."