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Salk Institute Settles Two Gender Discrimination Suits

A third case against the biomedical institute will be heard in court.

Aug 8, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

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The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has settled two of three gender discrimination lawsuits leveled at it by female scientists, according to a joint statement released by those involved yesterday (August 7). Both scientists still work at the Salk.

The settlement discussions began a few weeks ago. Salk President Rusty Gage and the two scientists, Vicki Lundblad and Kathy Jones, say in their statement, “Those productive conversations have led to a resolution of all claims between these parties that will enable us to put our disagreements behind us and move forward together at Salk for the collective good of the Institute and science.”

According to Nature, neither the statement nor Deborah Dixon, the lawyer for Lundblad and Jones, gave any details on the settlement made on August 6. 

The third lawsuit, filed by Beverly Emerson, now a former employee of Salk, is still pending. According to Science, her lawyer Alreen Haeggquist of the firm Haeggquist & Eck says, “Dr. Emerson intends to proceed until justice is fully achieved.” A San Diego court will be holding a hearing for Emerson’s case on August 17. 

See “Big Gender Gaps in Salk Institute Faculty: Report

All three scientists had alleged that higher-ups at Salk created obstacles in funding and promotion paths and belittled their work. At a July women in science meeting, Emerson spoke about the systemic nature of discrimination, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s not a matter of one person being harassed by the bad guy down the hall,” Emerson said. “That is a severe dysfunction of the culture, and it’s based on the reward system of the organization.”

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