N column

University of Nebraska College of Law professor Josephine Potuto, who has been a law professor for 45 years, sued the university, claiming she receives unequal pay because she is a woman.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in the Lancaster County District court, according to the Omaha World Herald. Her lawsuit states that when she told UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green about unequal pay, he told her she would be replaced as the faculty athletic representative, which she has served as since 1997.

Potuto’s lawsuit said that her potential replacement could be a punishment for her speaking out about the, but she has not been replaced yet.

Additionally, her lawsuit said that the UNL Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, which advises the chancellor on issues concerning fairness between genders, has cited pay discrimination as an issue, according to the Omaha World Herald.

According to chief communication and marketing officer Deb Fiddelke, UNL has reviewed the claim and is prepared to defend itself. 

“Those claims are unfounded and without merit,” Fiddelke said. “The University is prepared to defend itself against these claims and is confident that it will ultimately prevail.”

The university has no further comment at this time since the case is an active litigation.

According to The Omaha World Herald, Potuto’s salary is currently listed as $229,460 compared to her law colleague Robert Denicola’s who reportedly makes $273,653. Potuto’s listed salary includes the $5,500 she makes from serving as the faculty athletics representative.

State law allows her to edit the lawsuit in order to include other UNL women employees affected by unequal pay. Potuto’s case is considering that option, according to one of Potuto’s attorneys, Kathleen Neary, to the Omaha World Herald.

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