Bias claims keep labor & employment lawyers busy

by Vault Law Editors | March 02, 2010

  • My Vault

This time last year, Brian discussed the likely uptick in labor and employment litigation amid a continuing recession:

Among the few oases in a generally arid BigLaw landscape is labor and employment litigation. The confluence of a deteriorating job market and the new pro-union/employee-friendly Administration all but assures that the filing of employment lawsuits will accelerate.

A recent article in The Legal Intelligencer confirms the trend, as do statistics released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In January, the EEOC announced that 93,277 workplace discrimination charges had been filed during the 2009 fiscal year, the second-highest number on record.

Labor and employment practices may benefit from the increased workload, but it’s not just the perennial favorites they are defending these days, as law firms increasingly find themselves the targets of such suits. Among the headlines in the last several weeks:

  • A wrongful termination suit against MoFo includes allegations that an associate threatened to bring an Uzi to work because of a misplaced fax.
  • A former secretary claims that Drinker Biddle failed to pay overtime.
  • A judge certified a class action by legal secretaries claiming that Ohio IP boutique Turocy & Watson failed to pay overtime.
  • A judge refused to dismiss an age discrimination suit against Crowell & Moring. [Update March 3, 2010: both sides have agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice.]
  • The EEOC filed an age-bias suit against Kelley Drye based on its policy of de-equitizing partners when they turn 70 (a similar policy at Arnold & Porter reportedly prompted partner Michael Sohn to defect to Davis Polk this week).
  • A former associate in the firm’s Brussels office filed a $30 million racial discrimination suit against Howrey.
  • A judge dismissed part, but not all, of a former staff attorney’s racial discrimination complaint against Covington & Burling.

- posted by vera

Filed Under: Law

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