Several former lawyers for Cleveland-founded firm, Jones Day, filed a lawsuit seeking over $200 million due to allegations of pervasive gender and pregnancy discrimination. The suit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. describing the firm as operating on the level of a “fraternity” and controlled by one man, Steve Brogan. The culture at the large law firm was described by plaintiffs as harmful to female attorneys with male counterparts earning significantly higher wages, and enjoying more opportunities for promotion and career advancement, even when male attorneys’ skills on the job do not match those of females who are being passed by for promotion and/or raises.
In addition, the lawsuit stated that women who are pregnant or who have children are assumed to be less committed to their work. Six women filed the lawsuit, but only two are named. The two named plaintiffs are Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo. The other four plaintiffs are listed as Jane Does to preserve their anonymity.
Tolton claims she was treated like the problem child at the firm’s Irvine, California office after she asked about maternity leave policies. When she returned from maternity leave, she came back to a salary freeze, negative reviews, and a significant decrease in the number of work opportunities. After a second maternity leave, she was told to look for another job.
Mazingo claims she was denied mentorship opportunities and subjected to sexual harassment during her time employed by Jones Day in their California office. She also alleges verbal abuse by a male partner at the firm when she needed to take a weekend off in response to her health. She alleges she was forced to leave the firm last year.
According to the lawsuit, the firm is aware of the problems and has long been aware of the problems yet they have failed to take even the most remedial measures to correct the problem or prevent recurrences. Plaintiffs and their counsel seek class action status.
If you need information about how to seek class action status or what to do when you are being discriminated against on the job, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.