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UC Regents OK Award in Lab Suit

November 20, 2003|Rebecca Trounson | Times Staff Writer

The University of California Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a tentative agreement awarding damages of nearly $10 million to settle a class-action discrimination lawsuit brought by thousands of women employees at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The agreement, which requires approval by Alameda County Superior Court, involves 3,200 women employed at the lab since 1998, according to a lab spokeswoman and an attorney for the plaintiffs. About 2,500 of them -- including scientists, technicians and administrative assistants, the attorney said -- remain employed at the nuclear weapons design facility. In addition to the damage award, they will receive pay increases of 1%.

Lead attorney Jim Sturdevant said the plaintiffs had alleged that the lab discriminated for decades against women in pay and promotions.

The University of California, which manages the laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, agreed to conduct annual studies to identify any disparities, the attorney said.

"We certainly want to treat our employees appropriately, and this allows us to put the past behind us and move forward to other issues at the laboratory," said Susan Houghton, a Livermore spokeswoman.

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