This week, the Nebraska Legislature is considering legislation to help close the pay gap in Nebraska. Without this crucial legislation, Nebraska women would have to wait until 2066 for the pay gap to close.

Unfortunately, you don’t have to go too far back into Nebraska’s history to see instances of blatant sexism in employment. In 1984, the ACLU of Nebraska filed suit on behalf of Penny Bentz, a substitute teacher in Valley, Nebraska who alleged that she was denied a promotion because she was a woman.

“It is interesting that there are still such strong stereotypes about womens’ abilities in athletics,” then ACLU of Nebraska Assistant Director Denise Frost said. Denise, now in private practice, continues to partner with the ACLU as a cooperating attorney.

Even though Penny had more teaching experience and sufficient college experience in physical education to serve as a coach, two men with less teaching experience were hired for the job.


Whether it occurs on the court, in the classroom or on the job – the ACLU of Nebraska is proud to have been fighting to end gender-based discrimination since 1966. Let’s hope the pay gap closes far before we celebrate 100 years of defending freedom in Nebraska!

2016 is the 50th anniversary of the ACLU of Nebraska. We will feature several memories from our five decades of defending freedom in the Cornhusker state here. Do you have a favorite memory? Share it with us!