The University of Iowa, still searching for answers after discrimination lawsuits involving its athletic department led to $6.5 million in total settlements last year, is paying a law firm $92,000 to review the legality of the department's employment policies.
It's the second time this year that Iowa has turned to Fredrikson & Byron to conduct such a review. In April, the firm released a generally positive report that concluded that the university should shore up its definition of workplace harassment. That report — which otherwise found that the university and athletic department policies on human rights, sexual harassment, anti-retaliation and violence complied with state and federal laws — cost the university $97,575.
According to the Des Moines Register, the new assignment announced Thursday is for the firm to review documents and data to determine whether the athletic department complies with employment laws and policies concerning “equitable treatment of employees.” The review, which is to not last more than 90 days, could include interviews with athletics officials "as necessary," according to the latest contract.
University president Bruce Harreld announced that review measures would be taken in May 2017, less than 24 hours after a Polk County jury awarded former Iowa senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer $1.43 million in damages based on all five of Meyer's claims — gender and sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation and whistleblower violations, and unequal pay. The $6.5 million figure includes lost-wages settlements to Meyer and former coach Tracey Griesbaum.