Third Female Scientist Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against the Salk Institute

July 20, 2017
By Haeggquist & Eck

SAN DIEGO, CA – July 20, 2017: Employee rights advocates Haeggquist & Eck have filed a complaint against the Salk Institute for Biological Studies on behalf of Dr. Beverly Emerson, an internationally-renowned molecular biologist who has dedicated nearly 31 years of scientific research to the Institute. Dr. Emerson, alongside Drs. Katherine Jones and Victoria Lundblad is the third of (only) three tenured female Professors paid by Salk to sue the Institute for gender discrimination within the past week.

“After decades of trying to work within the administrative structure to resolve these issues, I agree with my colleagues that we can no longer turn a blind eye to the blatant discrimination that exists against female Full Professors in the Salk culture,” Dr. Emerson said.

Dr. Emerson alleges that, while the Salk Institute publicly touts its commitment to “Women in Science,” it has privately operated as an “antiquated boys’ club” for over half a century, systematically undermining and marginalizing its tenured female Professors by promoting them at slower rates; paying them less than their male counterparts, regardless of their experience and scientific contributions; depriving them of their equitable share of resources to fund their laboratories; and forcing them to work in a hostile environment in which they are undermined, disrespected, and treated unequally.

As Dr. Emerson told Science magazine in an in-depth article regarding the lawsuits filed against the Salk Institute for gender discrimination, our experience, and the “unbiased data shows, the situation at Salk for senior women faculty is grim on many levels resulting in a slow death, even for the strongest individuals.”

Dr. Emerson further alleges that the Salk Institute has been aware of the long-standing gender discrimination for over a decade, but has utterly failed to take any corrective action, thwarting the careers of its tenured female Professors. Dr. Emerson, an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow who joined the Salk Institute as an Assistant Professor in 1986, has focused the past several years of her research on cancer.

Alreen Haeggquist, lead attorney for Dr. Emerson, said: “The Administration and Board of Trustees have known about these gender disparities for over a decade, yet have failed to take corrective action as required not only by its own policies but as required by law. Dr. Emerson, former Chair of the Salk faculty and former member of the Salk Board of Trustees, made the difficult decision to file suit because the Salk Institute refuses to be transparent in its resource allocations and provide equal treatment to all scientists, despite their gender. It is time for the Salk Institute to stop paying lip service and take action so that future female scientists will not have to bear the same discriminatory burdens.”

A copy of the complaint against Salk Institute can be found here: COMPLAINT

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