We recently wrote about the law firm of Kelley Drye settling an age lawsuit by entering into a consent decree in which it agreed to pay a partner who had been working at the firm for more than 40 years approximately $500,000 in back pay, and also agreed to undergo age discrimination training and to implement monitoring procedures overseen by the EEOC.
The Washington Post has an interesting article on the growing number of discrimination suits filed against law firms by former employees. The Post cites statistics that claims against legal employers increased 8 percent between 2010 and 2011, and almost as much in the year between 2008 and 2009.
For example, it reported that the law firm of Venable just settled a national origin discrimination suit filed by a former paralegal from Kenya, and that the firm of Patton Boggs is being sued for sexual harassment by a former business development manager in its Washington, DC office. Additionally, an attorney is suing the Washington firm of James E. Brown & Associates for pregnancy discrimination, alleging a rescinding of her job offer when she informed the firm that she was pregnant.
The Post quotes “experts” who contend — no surprise — that the increase in lawsuits is “tied to the slow economic recovery making it harder for laid-off workers to find new jobs — and employees at law firms that underwent massive contraction during the recession are not exempt.”
Law firms are no different than their clients — they have human beings managing and working there.