SF State named in age bias lawsuit
August 30, 2008 2:35 PM
SF State is at the center of an age discrimination lawsuit filed against the California State University system.
The lawsuit, filed in June by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleges that Lawford Goddard, 64, became the victim of age discrimination in 2004 when SF State bypassed him to hire Antwi Akom as an assistant professor in the black studies department.
“We think ultimately the person they selected is under-qualified,” said Linda Ordonio-Dixon, an EEOC lawyer handling Goddard’s case. “Mr. Goddard has no problems with him as a scholar, but Lawford Goddard is far and away more qualified,” she said.
Akom is close to half Goddard’s age and at the time of his hiring, had not yet received his Ph.D.
The suit aims to secure a professor position for Goddard complete with back salary payments. The suit would also require that university officials receive anti-discrimination training.
Goddard holds a doctorate degree from Stanford University and has over 30 years of teaching experience – 15 of those spent as a lecturer at San Francisco State. He is currently the director of education at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture in Oakland.
“We do find a rising amount of discrimination against employees who are over forty years old,” said Ordonio-Dixon of overall age discrimination suit trends. “Whenever there’s a down economy, we find more age discrimination,” she added.
If settled out of court, the lawsuit stands to take a year to be resolved – or up to three years if it goes to trial.
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