Amicus Brief sign-ons invited for Jennifer Freyd’s challenge of unequal pay & gender-based pay discrimination

A request from Equal Rights Advocates and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

The sign up site is here

Equal Rights Advocates and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein invite you to join with fellow women’s, civil rights, and worker justice organizations in signing onto an amicus brief that will be filed in support of Plaintiff Jennifer Freyd in Freyd v. University of Oregon, seeking reversal of the attached Order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon granting summary judgment on her Equal Pay Act, Title VII, and related state law claims. Professor Freyd is challenging unequal pay and gender-based pay discrimination at the University of Oregon’s Department of Psychology, where she has worked for over 30 years. She is represented by Jennifer Middleton of Johnson, Johnson, Lucas & Middleton and Whitney Stark of Albies & Stark. Her case raises important issues about the interpretation and application of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII that are of vital importance to all workers, not just those in academia, where gender inequities in pay, power, and access to resources are especially prevalent. It already has garnered national attention (see attached Inside Higher Education article) and we expect other organizations, including the American Association of University Professors, to file amicus briefs in support of Plaintiff as well.  

 “Our brief will focus on the district court’s manifest errors of law with respect to Freyd’s Equal Pay Act and Title VII disparate impact claims. The brief will focus on the district court’s erroneous definition of “equal work,” its application of the wrong burden-shifting framework and endorsement of an ill-defined “market forces” defense to Freyd’s equal pay claims, and its failure to adhere to well-established standards governing the use of statistical evidence and analysis of the business necessity defense in disparate impact cases. It will argue that if the district court’s decision stands, it would make it exceedingly difficult for anyone, especially those working in skilled or professional occupations and/or for smaller employers, to vindicate their right to equitable compensation. We will highlight the pervasive gender wage gap and the barriers many workers face to vindicating their right to fair pay and argue that allowing the court’s errors to go uncorrected would undermine enforcement of our equal pay laws and have widespread negative implications for millions of workers and their families.”

Jennifer Freyd

The amicus brief is due September 30, 2019.

The timeline is as follows:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 25: ERA & LCHB circulate draft brief to potential amici
  • Friday, Sept. 27: Final due date for amicus sign-ons, including statements of interest
  • Monday, Sept. 30: Amicus brief filing deadline

NEXT STEPS: To sign on (including to sign on pending review of the brief), please fill out this Google form — including your organization name, contact person/info, whether you need to see a copy of the brief before signing on, and brief statement of interest (SOI).* The SOI should include a few sentences about your organization and how its mission relates to the issues in this case.** 

* Even if you cannot commit to signing on until you have reviewed the brief, please fill out the form so that we can make sure to send you the draft brief.
** The SOI should not include legal argument.

Please contact Jennifer Reisch ( with any logistical questions about signing-on or any substantive questions about the case or our brief.  Thank you and have a great weekend!

 Jennifer Reisch, ERA
Kelly Dermody & Michelle Lamy, LCHB