Psychology prof at Slippery Rock University claims gender discrimination

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A Slippery Rock University psychology professor sued the school today, claiming he has been subjected to gender discrimination.

Christopher Niebauer, of Butler, was hired as an assistant professor in the Psychology Department in 2000, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court. The other seven professors in the department, according to the complaint, are female, as is the leadership of the College of Health, Environment and Science.

According to the complaint, Mr. Niebauer protested in 2005 when others in the department refused to hire a woman “because she was pregnant.” Later he repeatedly protested the hiring of women who were, in his estimation, less qualified than male applicants.

“In response to protests regarding [a] female candidate’s hiring, Dr. Niebauer was subsequently harassed during a department meeting and forced to leave,” according to the complaint. “A female colleague told Dr. Niebauer, ‘Now you know what it’s like to be bullied.’”

He was then subjected to investigations, deprived of lab space and given less desirable class assignments, according to the complaint. He has been unable to advance to full professor, he alleged.

According to the complaint, Mr. Niebauer is suffering from stress, anxiety and a disorder that requires chiropractic treatment as a result of the work environment. He alleges sexual discrimination and retaliation, and demands compensatory and punitive damages.

A university spokeswoman said she had not seen the complaint and referred questions to a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education attorney. That attorney could not be immediately reached.

Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.

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