Heald College Agrees to Pay $3.5 Million to Settle Salary Dispute with F/T and P/T Faculty

HEALD COLLEGE HAS agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a 2-year-old class-action lawsuit alleging that it paid male instructors more than their female peers and failed to adequately pay part-time teachers. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jack Komar approved the settlement Feb. 3, calling it “fair, adequate and reasonable.”

Under the settlement, female Heald instructors who taught between April 25, 1998, and the end of 2003 will receive $90.83 per course taught. Part-time faculty—both women and men—will be awarded $438.19 per course.

The settlement covers all of Heald’s nine California campuses, including its Salinas school, where about 540 students are enrolled. About 20 of the instructors are women.

Heald’s Salinas campus director, Michael Burton, referred questions to Heald’s corporate office in San Francisco. College spokesman Bob Wynne said the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

“Rather than spending time and money engaging in an extended legal process,” Wynne said, “Heald College made a business decision to dismiss the matter and focus its energies on continuing to provide the best possible environment for its students to learn and instructors to teach.”

Heald College agreed to a maximum settlement amount of $3.5 million, including attorneys’ fees, plaintiffs’ costs, administration costs and the cost of notifying those eligible for compensation.

The class-action lawsuit was filed April 25, 2002, and later amended to include hourly part-time teachers, whom the lawsuit claims weren’t paid for “time spent on grading papers, class-preparation time, and student/teacher meetings.”

Heald College is a private, accredited college with about 7,200 students at its 11 campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon. The college promotes offering associate degrees in 18 months or less.

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