Academic wins gender discrimination dispute against NUIG

Dr. Tilley is one of a number of academics who are involved in legal or industrial disputes against NUIG on the grounds of gender discrimination

Dr Elizabeth Tilley, one of a number of academics who are involved in both legal and industrial relation disputes against National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) on the grounds of gender discrimination, has won her case at the Labour Court. She has been promoted to senior professor at the university.

Six women have had a long-running dispute with the college, following their unsuccessful applications for senior lecturer positions in 2009. They allege that they were treated less favorably than other candidates due to their gender.

According to Times Higher Education (THE), four women whose cases of gender discrimination are currently before the courts, had rejected a settlement in August, which included one year of sabbatical leave and €50,000 in recognition of “administrative flaws” and “distress suffered”. Dr. Tilley took her case to the Labour Court, an industrial relations route.

Dr. Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, a lecturer in Botany, won her case against the university in 2014, when NUIG was ordered by the Equity Tribunal to promote her to senior professor and pay the professor €70,000.

This year, NUIG were not recognised as an Athena Scientific Women’s Academic Network (Athena SWAN) Institute, an accreditation to universities who support women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) subjects.

All Irish universities must acquire the accreditation by 2019 for funding to be continued by Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board.

It has been alleged that the lack of accreditation has put pressure on women to settle in legal cases against NUIG, with a former lecturer saying to THE: “The Athena SWAN programme is being used as a mechanism to bully the women into accepting a derisory offer.”

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.