Kent State field hockey coach’s sexually biased costume gets green light

Kent State University has failed to get rid of allegations that it underpaid its former women’s field hockey coach in violation of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act.

Plaintiff Kathleen Wiler made a sufficient showing for a jury to find that the university paid at least one male coach more than her for equal work, in violation of the Equal Pay Act, Judge J .Philip Calabrese of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District. of Ohio ruled, denying the university’s motion for summary judgment.

Wiler’s Title VII claims also survive because a jury could conclude that the school’s reasons for paying some male coaches a higher salary — market rate and seniority — are a pretext for unlawful sex discrimination, a said Calabrese.

The court, however, denied Wiler’s claim for back pay or anticipated pay after the resignation because she failed to demonstrate that she was fired or constructively fired.

Wiler alleges, in her amended complaint filed December 30, 2020, that she “has always been among the most successful coaches at KSU in
guiding her teams to athletic and academic success, despite this she was consistently paid less than male coaches, even those who were far less successful.

Wiler, a five-time Mid-American Conference coach of the year, earned a base salary in 2016 of $74,465, totaling $85,496 with supplemental compensation, according to the complaint. The average compensation for male coaches “whose similar skill, effort and responsibility all earned them the MAC Coach of the Year award was $145,436,” according to the complaint.

She reported the pay inequity to her athletic director and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but the university “told her that the athletic department budget would not allow any coaches to receive compensation. significant salary increase, even though he was planning a $20,000 raise for a similarly situated male coach, Wiler’s complaint alleges.

Wiler resigned in response to “repeated acts of gender-based wage discrimination,” according to the complaint.

Newkirk Zwagerman PLC, Law Office of Caryn M. Groedel and Lefton Group LLC represent Wiler. Brennan, Manna & Diamond LLC represents the State of Kent.

The case is Wiler v. Kent State Univ., ND Ohio, no. 20-cv-00490, notice 10/28/22.

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