Many would think that lawyers are always good at protecting themselves from lawsuits and ensuring that they are adhering to the rules by which they litigate. This seems especially true when it comes to the areas that they practice.
However, one of South Florida's biggest law firms is being sued for gender discrimination in the workplace even though they practice in the area of labor and employment. The claimant used to work for the firm from 2007-2010 and is claiming that the firm discriminates against women by paying them less, promoting them with less frequency, and placing barriers to prevent them from ever becoming high-level managers and partners.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, the woman first filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is rare for the EEOC to return its investigation with a finding of "reasonable cause" to support this type of class-action lawsuit, but that is exactly what the outcome of their three year investigation concluded for this allegation. That decision spurred the lawsuit which the woman is bringing on behalf of herself as well as current and former female shareholders of the firm.
According to the woman's attorney, they have been attempting to reconcile this issue outside of litigation for the past few months with little or no success. That prompted the filing which it is estimated could bring damages in excess of $200 million if everyone listed is approved by the court as members of a class. The law firm claims that the suit is without merit according to one woman on the executive committee. She is one of two women on the committee of 12.
If you feel like you are facing discrimination and harassment in the workplace, you do not have to suffer alone. There are law firms out there that understand and will advocate for your rights when it seems as though nobody else will. Please reach out to an employment law attorney whom you can trust so that your workplace can become productive, not disheartening and distracting.
Source: Fair Employment Legal Update, "Former Partner at Greenberg Traurig Files Class Action Alleging Companywide Gender Discrimination," Brandon Brouillette, Jan. 28, 2013