A number of cases have been filed in recent years against major law firms by female employees who allege gender discrimination. Their lawsuits claim that the cultures of many major law firms favor men when it comes to pay and promotion.
Although exact numbers of lawsuits aren’t available, many attorneys have noticed an increase in lawsuit against major firms. The two most recent lawsuits against high-profile firms were filed against Sedgwick and Jones Day, which are both huge firms with numerous offices throughout the country.
In the lawsuit against Sedgwick, a female non-equity partner sued the firm in San Francisco, alleging that systematic discrimination against women had occurred. The lawsuit claims that women were kept from earning equal pay and equal partnership status. The plaintiff claims that she had been denied a promotion to equity partner for four years, despite being the third-highest revenue generator at the firm. She alleged that sexist comments were made by partners about her, and that some female associates earned up to $50,000 less than their male counterparts. The firm denied the allegations, and said that she was paid in the top 10 percent of all partners at the firm.
In the lawsuit against Jones Day, a longtime female staffer sued the firm. The staffer was a former business development manager with the firm, and claimed that after she returned from a maternity and disability leave a partner began micromanaging her and scrutinizing her work. The plaintiff alleges that Jones Day terminated five employees in the plaintiff’s department in connection with a restructuring, and that each was female and over 40 when terminated. After the plaintiff was terminated, a woman 10 years younger was given her position.
Some experts attribute the rise in lawsuits to the rising consciousness around the issue of fair pay, which can empower women to learn more about their rights and how to exercise them. Law firms have begun making pay more transparent, which can lead to fights. In addition, although many women may not have the money or the know-how about how to fight, typically attorneys can fight their employers without facing financial ruin. More attorneys now consider their firms as a short-term job rather than a long-term career, which may affect their willingness to sue their employers.
According to the Equal Pay Act, men and women in the same workplace must be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs do not have to be identical, but they must be substantially equal. In addition to the Equal Pay Act, there are a number of other federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on an employee’s sex. If an employee is discriminated against because of gender, the employer can be held liable for damages.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. If an employer chooses to discriminate against a woman because of her gender, the employer should be held responsible. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the Oakland-San Francisco area, call the Oakland sex discrimination attorneys at Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. You may be entitled to compensation, including lost wages, unpaid benefits, and more. We work with clients throughout the Bay area, including Hayward, Tracy, Fairfield, San Jose, Berkeley, Sacramento, Oakland, and the surrounding areas. Call us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case. If we choose to accept your case, you pay us nothing in fees until we obtain compensation for you.