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Jones Day faces £150 million sex discrimination claim over ‘fraternity culture’

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Six female former associates launch group action

📸 Jones Day’s office in Irvine, California

US titan Jones Day has found itself facing a multi-million-pound legal claim after six female former associates accused it of sex discrimination, court papers reveal.

In their group action, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the six lawyers allege that their former firm’s “black box” compensation model is used to pay female partners less than their male counterparts. Moreover, the women claim that the best work goes to the firm’s male lawyers and that they are paid better and promoted more often “even when their legal skills are notably deficient”.

The action is being brought by Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo, who were both based in Jones Day’s office in Irvine, California (pictured top), until last year, along with four other unnamed women. The claim seeks $200 million (£150 million) in damages.

“Jones Day’s fraternity culture presents female attorneys at Jones Day with an unpalatable choice”, the explosive claim reads. “Participate in a culture that is at best inhospitable to women and at worst openly misogynistic or forego any hope of success at the firm.”

It goes on to allege that for a female associate to succeed at the firm, “she must at least tolerate the stereotyped expectations of the firm’s male power brokers. To challenge these expectations by word or deed, even in settings ostensibly provided for ‘honest’ feedback, is career suicide.”

The complaint describes how at one unidentified office, “male partners allegedly kick off the firm’s holiday party by encouraging drinking in the office, followed by alcohol-fuelled dancing, during which male managers ‘gawk’ at dancing female associates for amusement”, Law.com reports. In another alleged incident, a male summer associate was “applauded and high-fived” by senior members of staff after he pushed a female summer associate into a swimming pool during a party held at a partner’s home.

In a lengthy statement, Jones Day, which has 43 offices around the world, including London, said it was “proud of its success in promoting a diverse group of outstanding lawyers.” It continued:

“Our partnership includes approximately 240 women, many of whom have become leaders in the firm and the legal profession. The success of Jones Day’s women lawyers has been supported by our inclusive culture that rewards talent, teamwork, integrity, and mutual commitment to our clients and the firm.”

You can read the statement in full here.

Comments on this article are now closed.

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25 Comments

Anonymous

Patiently waits for the comments section to be sanitised by LC.

(37)(0)

Cilla (Dec’d)

WELL SURPRISE SURPRISE!!!!!!!!

(7)(0)

Anonymous

How the hell did they get to $150m? What goes into a number like that?

(19)(1)

Anonymous

Have you never received that sum for hearing another person got pushed in a pool? Strange

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Shoddy journalism. The claim is for all women of a class that work for, have worked for, or will work for Jones Day. That’s a pretty key piece of information.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah, but $200 million! That’s 10% of firmwide revenue.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I can believe it. Far too much bullying at US firms.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Might be true, equally might not. Or may not be sex discrimination (certainly some of the allegations have nothing to do with sex).

(3)(4)

Anonymous

What absolute melts. 6 people want £150 million because they don’t like men getting promotions. Boo hoo deal with it. Only the strong survive.

(20)(67)

Diane

Um is it just me or is the activity complained of naughty at worst? Drinking and dancing at work? I’m clutching my pearls right now. Pushing someone into a pool at a party that’s not mandatory, not during work hours or remotely related to work? Someone call the SRA. If this is the worst then i really don’t think their suit will go well.

(28)(7)

Anonymous

It’s all fun and games until Alex is called as a witness as to his aggressive censorship of the comments section.

(6)(1)

Steven Seagull

‘The complaint describes how at one unidentified office, “male partners allegedly kick off the firm’s holiday party by encouraging drinking in the office, followed by alcohol-fuelled dancing’

My god. This is outrageous! Drinking and dancing? Totally insane behaviour.

(34)(4)

Rev Shaw Moore

Dancing is a sin.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

You sound fun

(2)(1)

Anonymous

The valuation of their claim seems inflated. Even if their liability claim is proven I cannot see how it’s been quantified.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

It’s America.

The normal rules of quantum don’t apply!

(16)(0)

Bob

It isn’t the civil service. How about private firms conduct themselves as they please?

(5)(9)

Anonymous

This is getting ridiculous. In 90% of case the moaners are second rates who would not make it but they sue to get a pay out.

(9)(9)

Anonymous

“male partners allegedly kick off the firm’s holiday party by encouraging drinking in the office” – the savages.

These are the sort of complaints you get when you only hire private-schooled choir kids.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

I suspect the complainants are state school plebs. Privately-educated people would be too broad minded to disapprove of such things.

(7)(6)

Anonymous

You talked about legs – that’s fratboy behaviour. $200 million please!

(1)(0)

Jones Day Partner

*visibly perspires*

(1)(0)

Anonymous

what he said

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Or she

(1)(0)

Anonymous

or the non binary human

(3)(0)

Comments are closed.

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