LANSING – A judge delayed a decision yesterday on whether a jury will hear a discrimination suit filed against the University by a former University professor. The case will resume Thursday.
Peter Hammer is suing the University, claiming that the Law School denied him tenure in 2002 because he is openly gay.
Judge James Giddings, who presided over the case in Thirtieth Judicial District Court here, adjourned the hearing early because it started late in the afternoon and ran past 6 p.m.
Hammer filed suit in 2005 arguing that based on its status as a non-discriminatory employer, the University couldn’t use sexual orientation as a factor in its tenure decisions.
In hearings in 2006, University attorneys argued that Hammer had no grounds for a case because the University wasn’t legally bound by its non-discrimination policy. University attorneys claimed the non-discrimination language in the employment handbook represented a “commitment,” not a legally binding policy.
In response to outcry from gay and lesbian faculty, the University changed its position. The University now argues that it didn’t discriminate against Hammer when he was denied tenure in 2002.