Published: September 28, 2021
WIT Legal, LLC

The Case:

The plaintiff, a former professor from a prestigious university, sued the school and her former colleague for retaliation over being denied tenure at the Ivy League institution. She alleged that a senior faculty member retaliated against her by bad-mouthing her to the school and delaying research that would have supported her tenure candidacy because she rejected his inappropriate sexual advances. Subsequently, the plaintiff was denied tenure and alleged that the university mishandled her complaints about the senior faculty member. She also asserted that the denial of tenure left her with virtually no chance to obtain another tenure-track position at an equivalent university, contending that such a denial functions as a permanent ‘black mark’ on an academic’s professional reputation.

The Ask:

Plaintiff’s counsel approached WIT to provide a highly credentialed expert in organizational psychology and human resources (HR). The matter required an expert with a core understanding of best practices at educational institutions on handling complaints of discrimination and retaliation. The expert would be asked to consult with counsel on HR standards and processes, provide an expert report, and potentially testify at trial.

Why WIT was Best Suited to Meet the Expert Witness Need:

In anticipation of a high demand for expert witnesses in sexual harassment disputes, WIT recruited and retained highly credentialed academics and industry executives to support clients in litigation. For this case, WIT recommended an affiliate expert who is an internationally renowned Human Resources Management professor. The expert has written over 50 peer-reviewed papers and three book chapters on diversity, discrimination, stereotypes, and sexual harassment.  Additionally, her research focuses on organizational tolerance for sexual harassment (“OTSH”) and its impact on human resources managers performing sexual harassment investigations. Our affiliate expert is an experienced testifier, having worked with both plaintiffs and defendants to review company policies and procedures and opine on issues surrounding pay, promotion, and investigation practices.

As a result of our expert’s consultation, a Manhattan jury of four men and four women sided with our client in finding that the defending senior faculty member was at fault and that the university was equally liable. Furthermore, the jury’s verdict awarded more than $2M to the plaintiff for attorneys’ fees, compensation, and punitive damages.

For more information about how WIT can help, contact us to discuss your expert witness needs. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

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