Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Kentucky Supreme Court Clarifies “Similarly Situated” Standard for KCRA Claims

By Courtney Ross Samford

NKU-library-1On March 17, 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court addressed the “similarly situated” standard that must be established by all plaintiffs in Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) claims in The Board of Regents of Northern Kentucky University v. Weickgenannt, 2016 WL 1068245 (Ky. March 17, 2016) (unpublished).  Plaintiff Andrea Weickgenannt sued the Board of Regents of Northern Kentucky University (NKU), claiming that her application for tenure was denied because of her gender, in violation of the KCRA.  Initially, NKU’s accounting department recommended Weickgenannt for tenure to the Dean of the College of Business.  In his first tenure review since joining NKU, the Dean disagreed with this recommendation, based on his belief that Weickgenannt failed to publish three peer-reviewed articles in journals of “good quality” and her lack of a “continuing commitment to do scholarly activity in the future,” as required by the College of Business’s scholarship requirements.

Weickgenannt’s application was then reviewed by NKU’s female Provost.  She supported the Dean’s recommendation after speaking with faculty members from other Kentucky universities, each of whom confirmed that Weickgenannt’s articles were published in a journal that was insufficient to warrant tenure.  The Provost also Continue reading