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EEOC Stats Show Increase in Charges Filed Against Legal Sector Employers

Posted Jul 3, 2012 7:20 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Large law firms are in the news lately as they defend job bias suits filed by former employees. But new statistics show BigLaw isn’t the only part of the legal sector seeing increased claims.

Charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against legal sector employers increased 8 percent between 2010 and 2011, and nearly 7 percent between 2008 and 2009, the Washington Post reports. The increase followed several years of decline.

Washington, D.C., employment lawyer Avi Kumin told the Post that the recession contributed to the increased number of cases. “Previously, if someone lost their job, it’s possible they could’ve worked for another good firm a couple months later. Now you’re seeing [employees] being out of work for months and months,” he told the newspaper. “Bringing a suit suddenly looks more attractive because there are real damages to recover.”

The story lists several suits filed against law firms, including these:

• Venable recently settled a bias suit filed by a former paralegal from Kenya who said she was fired because of her national origin.

• A former business development manager at Patton Boggs claims in a lawsuit that the firm fired her after she complained about alleged sexual harassment by a technology employee at a happy hour event. The law firm has denied liability, the Washington Post reported in a previous story.

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